Deal has potential to restore cuts -- Calleary
JUNIOR Minister for Labour Affairs Dara Calleary has appealed to public sector workers to recognise the potential for the new deal to restore their wage cuts.
The prospect of the deal being ratified is under increasing threat, as union members have complained there are no guarantees the effects of the pension levy and the pay cut in December's Budget will be reversed.
But Mr Calleary said the deal included a pledge to avoid further pay cuts for four years -- and to restore pay to public servants if possible.
"If we get transformation in the service, it'll be a better place to work in and we have a process in place to deliver the savings we get back into people's pockets," he said.
Although unions have warned that pay cuts could be imposed if the downturn continued, Mr Calleary said this clause was included in the deal because the Government was "being honest with people".
He said those opposed to the deal had to be asked what their alternative was. "It's the best deal that we could put on the table in the circumstances we're in," Mr Calleary said.
He said there were small signs the economy was on the verge of returning to growth.
Fine Gael finance spokesman Richard Bruton blamed the Government for failing to put forward an economic recovery plan.
"What will come out of the sacrifice, that is what people don't see. They see it as narrowly focused on the public service. I think that has undermined the Government's capacity to negotiate and champion this deal," he said.