€300m cuts for public servants 'this year'
THE Government has warned public servants that €300m of the €1bn extra to be squeezed from their pay and pensions bill must be achieved this year.
Its stark message comes as the largest public sector union, IMPACT, will today warn its members it will ballot them for industrial action if they cannot strike a 'Croke Park II' deal.
In a letter to unions, ahead of talks on a new deal to begin next week, the Government outlines why extra savings must be made on top of €3.3bn already earmarked under the current Croke Park Agreement.
The dispatch from Minister Brendan Howlin's Department of Public Expenditure and Reform says €1bn in extra savings must be made over the next three years to satisfy the troika – with €300m of these savings achieved in the next 12 months. It says the €1bn saving in the pay bill must be "over and above" savings already identified by reducing the public sector headcount.
It says the existing suite of measures agreed for implementation under the existing pact will not deliver savings to the extent necessary.
"It is also not possible to envisage achieving that level of saving through headcount reductions alone, while maintaining adequate levels of public services," he adds.
The department's General Secretary Robert Watt says in the dispatch there will be cuts in payroll costs for serving staff as well as "substantial additional productivity and workforce reform measures for all".
He says the Government aims to ensure the cuts "impact most on those best able to afford it" but he had no doubt it will be difficult to identify these measures "in a way that is broadly equitable".