THE long-running comparative debate between the public sector and private sector has often been demoralising for those providing services to the public.
Public sector workers have seen their wages cut twice since the start of the economic downturn, as well as being hit with higher levels of indirect taxation.
What is also morale-sapping for dedicated workers in any organisation is seeing those who don't carry their weight continue their behaviour without consequence.
Badly performing workers are often not dealt with and sometimes even moved on to shift the problem elsewhere.
The frequent failure to promote based upon ability, rather than longevity in a position, is also damaging to ambition and creates a culture where innovation is not encouraged.
It is in everyone's best interests – public and public sector worker alike – that those who are not doing their job are not protected by outdated work practices.
The process of making the public sector more fit for purpose finally began with the Croke Park Agreement. It is not a matter to boast about that the then government effectively had to bribe unions with a promise of no pay cuts to get them to sign up to the reform agenda.
Public Spending Minister Brendan Howlin's timely initiative in re-opening the Croke Park Agreement is not merely a bottom line, cost-cutting exercise.
It's also about getting the public sector to work more efficiently and effectively by bringing about long-lasting change.