Tuesday 12 December 2017

Public sector clear-out as State looks to cut 20,000 staff

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

THE Government plans to slash 20,000 staff from the public sector workforce as part of its four-year plan to drastically reduce its deficit.

Its new target will bring the size of the workforce below 300,000 for the first time in eight years and will be listed among the €15bn cost-cutting measures to be unveiled later this month.

This target will replace its existing goal of 13,741 departures from the state sector by the end of 2012.

The reduction will be made through voluntary redundancies and early retirements.

It will also be achieved by stricter enforcement of the government embargo on recruitment.

The Department of Finance set the new target after figures revealed it had already shed almost 12,000 public servants since last year.

Its 20,000 target includes this reduction, normal departures, and the 5,000 staff -- in clerical and management positions -- it hopes will leave the health sector through voluntary redundancy and retirement.

However, it may extend these schemes and use them as templates for schemes in other sections of the public sector if it does not get enough applicants.

According to new figures sent by public sector managers to the department last Friday, there were 307,200 full-time jobs in the public sector at the end of September.

This was 11,986 fewer workers than there were when the embargo was introduced last March, and ahead of a target of 10,023 by the end of this year.

The Government initially considered a more drastic 10pc reduction in the workforce as part of its four-year plan, or 30,000 workers, but rowed back over fears it would mean a loss of frontline staff.

Meanwhile, the HSE will enter talks with unions over its new €400m voluntary redundancy and early retirement schemes this morning but is unlikely to extend a tight deadline for applications.

It has accepted an invitation from the Labour Relations Commission to discussions with IMPACT and SIPTU this morning.

IMPACT asked the Labour Relations Commission to intervene urgently after the HSE set November 19 as the closing date for applications.

It has challenged the terms of the scheme.

The union also claims the short timescale for applications breaches the law that says there should be 30 days of consultation with staff.

Irish Independent

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