Cleaners furious at pay-cut deal for top civil servants
Published 07/01/2010 | 05:00
CLEANERS in government departments yesterday expressed fury that senior managers will escape the full brunt of savage pay cuts being applied to them.
IMPACT said its phones had been hopping with complaints from members about the "exceptional arrangement" for senior public servants.
Around 600 senior public servants are the only group to avoid having their basic pay cut in line with the recommendations of a high-level committee -- which recommended they be given an 8pc cut rather than the 3pc cut imposed by the Government.
Thomas Cowman, spokesman for IMPACT's federated government employees' branch, said his members were finding the exemption for senior public servants very hard to take -- especially when they had to clean their offices.
His branch represents about 1,100 cleaners, service officers, receptionists and porters around the country. This includes cleaners in the Department of the Taoiseach and 40 cleaners in the garda training college in Templemore.
"It seems like the Government is not cutting the people who are going to implement this policy," Mr Cowman said.
The Government has decided to add in past earnings from a scrapped bonus scheme when calculating pay cuts for a group of 600 senior public servants.
It means those on salaries of up to €150,000 will only receive pay cuts of 3pc, while cleaners on maximum salaries of €24,000 will get pay cuts of 5pc.
The senior public servants include around 150 assistant secretaries in the civil service, three deputy commissioners and 12 assistant commissioners in the garda, senior local authority staff, senior HSE staff and major generals and brigadier generals in the Defence Forces. Around half of the State's 64 ambassadors will also benefit, as well as some of the specialist parliamentary counsel lawyers who draft bills for the Government.
Mr Cowman said some of these senior public servants were earning up to €3,000 a week, which was more than his members made in a month.
"It's very hard if you are cleaning that person's office and know that person is just taking a 3pc cut," he said.
The Department of Finance has said the "exceptional arrangement" was made because the senior public servants would have suffered greater pay cuts than Taoiseach Brian Cowen if the axed bonuses were not taken into account.