Government urged not to impose cuts
Published 17/04/2013 | 11:36
Union leaders have drawn battle lines over the collapsed Croke Park II deal and warned of strikes if the Government tries to enforce wage cuts.
While Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore claimed the coalition was united on the need for 300 million euro salary savings, Congress executives threatened deepening hostilities.
New efforts to break the deadlock created by widespread rejection of the deal are expected within two weeks.
A number of key union figures have now warned that the Government will have to face down strikes if it wants to impose pay cuts without negotiation.
Jimmy Kelly, of the Unite trade union, said the message for the coalition was clear.
"We're now clearly saying to the Government that we'll resist any attempt to impose Croke Park II and we're going to look at what the alternatives are to inflicting that sort of misery on public sector workers," he said.
The public sector committee of Congress is to write to Government notifying that it stands over the resounding No vote on Croke Park II.
Bernard Harbor, spokesman for the committee and trade union Impact, one of the few unions to support the deal, suggested that Department of Public Expenditure negotiators could look at sweeteners to get consensus.
"I think in the immediate term the ball is in the Government's court. They have to decide how to respond and what to do, whether they are going to try to reach some kind of agreement again or move to impose pay cuts - try to do something to turn rejection into acceptance," he said.
The Congress committee did not discuss the likelihood of strike action, Mr Harbor said.