THE leader of the country's largest union has admitted the Croke Park II deal is "not perfect" but "probably as fair as could be made".
SIPTU general president Jack O'Connor also said firefighters were entitled to strike a stand-alone deal with the Government, as they already suffered big changes to their terms and conditions.
He said he believed gardai could have made a similar argument, if they had not walked out of talks. Mr O'Connor was speaking before his union's National Executive Council meets today to decide whether to recommend the proposed agreement to its 63,000-plus public service members.
He hinted that the likely outcome was that the union leadership would urge members to vote in favour of the deal.
When asked if he believed the deal was fair, the SIPTU leader said: "I think the internal construct of the proposition is probably as fair as could be made, without being perfect.
"I don't think that anything in this country is fair. I think there is a fundamental inequity in the employer approach to the adjustment, and the burden is being disproportionately borne by working people."
SIPTU members will begin voting next Tuesday, and the result of all union ballots will be revealed on April 17.