Saturday 23 September 2017

We'll fight two-tier pay system, vows Siptu

Brendan Howlin, leader of the Labour Party and Jack O'Connor, General Secretary of SIPTU, at the annual James Connolly commemoration at Arbour Hill. Photo: Damien Eagers
Brendan Howlin, leader of the Labour Party and Jack O'Connor, General Secretary of SIPTU, at the annual James Connolly commemoration at Arbour Hill. Photo: Damien Eagers

Alan O'Keeffe

A two-tier pay system for public servants doing the same job is "morally unacceptable" and will be resisted, warned Siptu general president Jack O'Connor.

As preparations get under way for public service pay talks, Government sources indicated that it does not want to end the two-tier pay system that treats new and older employees differently.

But Mr O'Connor said that this will be a key battle at the upcoming talks.

"It (Government) will grasp at everything. Brexit has emerged as a convenient tool for the purpose of sustaining the demand for depressing wages."

He said Ireland has the most rapidly growing economy in Europe with some of the best economic indicators in the EU.

"To attempt to sustain the obnoxious proposition that younger people should continue indefinitely to be paid less than the agreed rate for the job is totally unacceptable to us.

"Our objective is to secure the re-instatement of the pay that people lost during the crisis years, to secure increases in pay for people that reflect the development of the economy, and we'll approach the negotiation in that way," he said.

As chairman of the Labour Party, he attended the party's James Connolly commemoration at Arbour Hill in Dublin.

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin also said maintaining a pay differential between newer and older State employees "would be a disaster".

"The Government has to enter into the negotiations on the basis of full restoration and equality of treatment...That was the deal that was done," he said.

Meadhbh Connolly at the grave of her great-great grandfather James Connolly. Photo: Damien Eagers
Meadhbh Connolly at the grave of her great-great grandfather James Connolly. Photo: Damien Eagers
Former Labour Party leader Joan Burton at the James Connolly commemoration at Arbour Hill Cemetery. Photo: Damien Eagers

The Irish Federation of University Teachers demanded full restoration of payments and allowances, stating the slashing of jobs and soaring student numbers meant working conditions "deteriorated drastically".

Connolly's wife Lily was 'partner in all struggles'

The great-granddaughter of James Connolly told how his wife Lily endured great hardship to give vital support and inspiration to her husband.

Róisín Connolly Flood recalled how Mr Connolly described his wife as his "partner in all my struggles".

She spoke as the Labour Party held its annual James Connolly commemoration at Arbour Hill Cemetery in Dublin.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin and party chairman Jack O'Connor addressed those in attendance.

Wreaths, flowers, music and song marked the event which took place in brilliant sunshine.

Irish Independent

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