Boost for Croke Park II deal as two unions urge 'Yes' vote
TWO public sector unions representing over 73,500 public servants have urged their members to back the new Croke Park deal.
The largest public sector union IMPACT, which has 63,500 members, was the first to overwhelmingly recommend a 'Yes' vote.
It was followed shortly afterwards by the Public Service Executive Union, which represents 10,000 mid-ranking civil servants.
IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody said his union's task was to minimise the effects of cuts on members and services, as the Government was "determined" to get the saving by agreement or legislation.
"By negotiating, IMPACT and other unions have succeeded in reducing the severity of management proposals in every important area, and it is likely that deeper cuts will be imposed if this package is rejected," he warned.
The union will begin balloting members next month, and a result will be announced in April.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and the Civil, Public and Services Union decided they will urge members to reject the agreement at meetings yesterday.
There are now five unions recommending a 'No' vote. The others are the Teachers' Union of Ireland, the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) and the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants.
However, the 'Yes' and 'No' sides are neck-and-neck, as both sides hold a 25pc share of the total public service union vote.
But the 'Yes' vote could get a major boost next week if SIPTU, which has a 25pc share of the total vote, recommends the deal at a meeting on Tuesday.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said that the proposals were "hostile" to female workers and rolled back family friendly measures negotiated over two decades.
It claimed the proposals were disproportionate as a nurse on €35,000-a-year would lose up to 8pc pay, while an officer staff on €100,000 would lose 6pc.
IFUT, which is also urging members to vote 'No', said private sector workers earning over €65,000 should also be asked to contribute through a "fair and progressive taxation system".
The deal brokered by the Government and unions earlier this week is designed to slash the state payroll by €1bn over three years.
This will be achieved by cutting pay for staff earning over €65,000 a year, freezing increments, increasing working hours and cutting premium pay and overtime.
Savings will also be delivered by reducing the number of public servants by not replacing those who retire and a voluntary redundancy scheme.
Union leaders are currently considering whether to recommend the agreement to members, before it is put to a ballot.
If the proposals get the go-ahead, the State will bring in the payroll cuts from July 1.
Meanwhile, the government drive to reduce the number of public servants may be spurred by the cuts.
Staff at retirement age who earn over €65,000 and face pay cuts that will slash their pension lump sums and their annual pensions may depart before the cuts come into force.