Public pay – time for a reality check?


Sir, – Cliff Taylor suggests that the Government compromised with unions over public service pay cuts, imposed at the height of the economic crisis, in order to “get them through” (“Public servants want their ‘stolen’ money back. Time for a reality check”, Opinion & Analysis, April 22nd).

The pension levy and pay reductions, including additional cuts in new entrants’ salary scales, were imposed by a majority coalition after two sets of talks collapsed without agreement (or “compromise”) in 2009.

The later abolition of allowances for new entrants, which continues to have a further substantial impact on some incomes, was also imposed by its successor.

Your columnist also says boom-period pay rises (which, incidentally were a feature across the economy) were a cause of an international economic crisis actually prompted by the reckless and catastrophic failure of banks and their regulators.

Cliff Taylor’s treatment of the public-private pay gap is also flawed. He effectively dismisses a recent and detailed CSO study, which acknowledged the difficulty of comparing pay across the sectors. It found the pay gap had pretty much disappeared once you take account of qualifications, length of service, size of organisation, and the so-called pension levy.

His preference is for a short and far less detailed Davy Stockbrokers publication, which is padded out with old data and gives no explanation (statistical or other) for its assessment of the impact or significance of important determinants of pay differentials such as qualifications and experience. – Yours, etc,


Head of Communications,


Nerney’s Court,

Dublin 1.