Friday 22 November 2019

Council staff to lose days off for 'events'

Majella O'Sullivan

COUNTY council workers have been warned their extra days off for local events will be scrapped.

The Government signalled the traditional but "over-generous" entitlements and working arrangements across the public sector were in the firing line.

Public Reform Minister Brendan Howlin promised to standardise leave and working-time arrangements.

He said new recruits to the public service would not enjoy the same holidays and working arrangements as existing staff -- if a moratorium on recruitment is ever lifted.

Mr Howlin told delegates at the IMPACT trade union annual conference in Tralee the anomalies between the public and private sectors "grated on the public".

"I tell you frankly that it can be hard to defend the hard work of public servants, when simultaneously some are refusing to acknowledge working hours and leave arrangements that are wildly out of line with those in the private sector," he said.


Mr Howlin confirmed that he had already begun negotiations with unions, but said the process of reforming leave arrangements, such as days off for fairs that had come into mainstream leave, was daunting and could not be achieved instantly.

However, the minister ruled out lifting the moratorium on recruitment but said particular difficulties and pressures would be examined on a case-by-case basis.

"We are tied in to a binding straightjacket with the EU/IMF deal negotiated by the previous Government so we haven't the scope to lift the moratorium," he said.

Mr Howlin said he had asked all departments and agencies if there were any areas where resources could be shared or if there were services that simply could not be afforded any more that needed to be abandoned now but may be restored when economic circumstances improved. He said the review had to be completed by the autumn.

Irish Independent

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