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College lecturers say they'll fight any move to enforce wage cuts

UNIVERSITY lecturers have said they will fight any move by the Government to enforce pay cuts or changes in conditions following the rejection of Croke Park II proposals.

The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT), at its weekend annual conference, gave unanimous backing to use all the resources at its disposal to battle the move.

The warning comes as it emerges public servants face imposed pay cuts if they fail to reach agreement to deliver the €300m in pay savings within a deadline of two weeks.

The Government gave Labour Relations Commission (LRC) chief executive Kieran Mulvey a deadline of a fortnight to establish if there is any hope of reaching agreement.

And, if no deal is struck, then the Government will move to legislate for the changes to pay.

Last night, Minister of State Brian Hayes denied that there was a threat or scaremongering involved in getting a deal.

But he said that if it was not resolved the Government would act in a decisive manner.

If no agreement is reached, public servants will face potential pay cuts, a permanent freeze on increments, possible redeployment beyond the 45-kilometre limit and loss of protection from compulsory redundancy.

The pay cuts for those earning between €65,000 and €100,000 would be permanent.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said the Government had "made it very clear" they wanted to shave around €300m from the public sector pay bill this year through negotiation and agreement.

"If we can't do it through negotiation then the Government will have to govern," he told RTE's 'The Week in Politics'.

Unions including the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (ASTI), the Irish National Teachers' Organisation and the Teachers' Union of Ireland, will begin to ballot on potential industrial action this week.

The ASTI's Pat King said 85pc of their members rejected the Croke Park proposals.

Hostile

"If the Government imposes cuts we have to react appropriately," he said. "We are a million miles away from what the Government had in mind for us."

IFUT general secretary Mike Jennings accused the Department of Education of displaying a "hostile attitude" to third-level education. He said there had been an "extraordinary expansion of the level of direct, centralised control" of third-level colleges, particularly universities.

Irish Independent