Public Services Pay and Pensions Bill
Photograph: Aidan Crawley/The Irish Times
Sir, – It is now proposed to suspend salary increments for some public employees, but not for others, under section 21 of the Public Services Pay and Pensions Bill 2017. This provision is clearly designed to punish and coerce citizens who have taken an entirely laudable and principled stance against the continuation of discriminatory new-entrant pay-scales for their junior colleagues and refused to sign up to the the latest public sector pay deal.
Suspension of the application of contractual pay increments, even if temporary, amounts to an effective pay cut with reference to contract for all individuals effected, lasting until they belatedly reach the top point of the scale.
Unfairness is to be visited by law on those who take a principled stance, to their own cost, against unfairness to colleagues in the form of discriminatory new-entrant salary scales. Is this vindictive and unethical proposal even constitutional?
Teachers have refused the carrot, to their own cost, on good ethical grounds; now the stick is to be applied.
It already reflects badly on our Government that it has chosen, presumably with an eye to votes, to prioritise general tax cuts and payment increases over dealing fully with the blatant unfairness of discriminatory new-entrant pay-scales. Whether it is constitutional, it is an entirely unethical and odious proposal.
It is deeply concerning for the health of our democracy that this measure has passed Cabinet scrutiny, and made it to the Dáil; it is equally alarming that it hasn’t been met with a massive backlash from Opposition TDs. – Yours, etc,