Sunday 4 December 2016

Public staff 'must work more hours to escape cuts in pay'

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

Published 18/04/2011 | 05:00

THE chief broker of the Croke Park deal has said public servants should work longer hours and accept other reforms to avoid pay cuts.

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Senior state mediator Kieran Mulvey said no one wanted more wage reductions, but the "burning platform" was the wide gap between the Government's €52bn expenditure and €32bn income.

His warning about the necessity for reform came as pressure mounts on the deal to deliver before the IMF returns in September to decide if significant savings have been achieved.

If not, the Government has committed to make another "adjustment" to public sector pay, which has already been cut by an average 6.2pc.

"Nobody wants any more pay cuts, but we can change the way we work," said Mr Mulvey, chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission.

"We, potentially, probably could work longer."

The Croke Park deal contains reforms that would mean longer working hours in various sectors of the public service, but unions have opposed many of the plans.

In the education sector, for instance, the Croke Park deal said teachers should work extra hours each week.

The INTO, ASTI and TUI have finally signed up to the measure, although the plan was supposed to begin at the start of the last school year.

Mr Mulvey said he believed the Croke Park deal could deliver, although he admitted the reform plan was "not at a level that one would have anticipated" a year after it was agreed.

"One would have thought we'd have been further along the line of public service reform," he said.

"We have an international agreement that puts conditions upon this country, its borrowing and its future.

"Not to tell the truth and not to face its own employees with that truth would be reckless," he added.

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