Wednesday 26 July 2017

Don't use job security against public servants, say unions

Tom Geraghty, secretary of the Public Services Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Tom Geraghty, secretary of the Public Services Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Anne-Marie Walsh

Public sector unions have asked a new government advisory body not to use their members' job security against them in a comparison with private sector workers' pay.

In a submission to the new Public Service Pay Commission on its first report, the union leaders say that all the concessions they made in the recent crisis were motivated by an "overwhelming desire" to prevent any permanent public servants from being made redundant.

The document by the Public Services Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) says that every agreement reached since the 2010 Croke Park Agreement recognised this. "And it would be unacceptable to use this against public servants when considering the value of security of tenure," it says.

"Had public servants not made the concessions in remuneration and working conditions that they did, effectively in exchange for job protection, the question of 'security of tenure' would be unlikely to feature now as an issue in any consideration by the Public Service Pay Commission."

It also says that a 12pc discount to take account of the value of pensions that was applied by the Benchmarking Body in 2007 was "excessive", and says a 5pc discount to pay rates in recognition of pensions was traditional.

Employer group IBEC has called on the commission to factor in the value of public servants' job security and pensions into any assessment of their wages compared with the private sector. Both elements should be considered under its terms of reference.

The ICTU document says the commission should also consider that many non-permanent staff in the public sector were not protected from redundancy in the crisis period.

It says the significant numbers involved highlight the fact that tenure is a considerably less significant factor in any external comparison than it was in the past.

The document also says that comparisons of low paid public service workers' pay with sections of the private sector "where remuneration levels are unjustifiably low" would not be acceptable.

Irish Independent

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