Pay deals have to be rooted in realism
This weekend the clock goes back by one hour, but it already feels as if it has gone back a couple of generations in terms of the scale of industrial strife. In any society a sense of responsibility is essential to balance the tension between the twin poles of order and disorder. But when our teachers are outside the schools and there is a serious prospect of our gardaí being off the streets, it is time to take a hard look at the direction we are taking.
We may be enjoying an unseasonably mild spell of weather for October, but the public sector barometer is pointing to hard frost in a harsh winter of industrial discontent. Unless some common sense barriers are put in place, there will be no shelter from the gathering storm.
It is to be welcomed that the Workers' Relations Commission is now taking a key role in the garda dispute. The commission has the expertise and competence to work towards a resolution. But there are questions that the Government must ask itself. The first one is how could we be days away from an unprecedented all-out garda strike when Fine Gael has had five years to defuse the situation?