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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Bang goes any hope of fairness in wages fight

Public sector workers are not the only ones who provide a service. Those in the private sector deserve to be heard too, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 27/11/2016 | 02:30

Thousands of self-employed workers, who often work long hours with few or no holidays, don't even have a basic social welfare safety net to fall back on in hard times Photo: PA
Thousands of self-employed workers, who often work long hours with few or no holidays, don't even have a basic social welfare safety net to fall back on in hard times Photo: PA

Three things can't be hidden for long, goes the old saying - the sun, the moon and the truth. The truth doesn't always get a warm welcome when it does put in an appearance, however, as Kevin Duffy, chair of the recently established Public Service Pay Commission, discovered last week when he dared to argue that planned Garda strikes were "unlawful by any standards" and tantamount to "mutiny".

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The former bricklayer and assistant general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions is hardly one of the usual suspects when it comes to castigating public sector workers, and Duffy did receive some support even from trade unionists; but the guards themselves reacted with fury.

The Garda Representative Association quickly said it had no confidence in Duffy, though as Professor Michael Doherty of Maynooth's law department pointed out on RTE's Morning Ireland: "Gardaí were issued with an order and they were going to disobey that order." If it looks, quacks and mutinies like a duck, what else can it be?

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