Sunday 21 January 2018

Fresh row as union boss rubbishes public-private pay gap

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Anne-Marie Walsh

A fresh row over the gap between public and private sector pay erupted after a union leader described recent research as a "pile of garbage".

Davy Stockbrokers reported the huge discrepancy, but general secretary of the Public Service Executive Union (PSEU) Tom Geraghty said the figures "were a pile of garbage".

He said: "First of all, they included in their figures people who are not paid by the Exchequer, who are in the semi-State sector and are self-financing."

He also said: "They took a crude average of the number of people in the public service and divided this into their total salaries and did the same for the private sector. This is an apple versus oranges analysis."

But the PSEU has done no research of its own to counter the Davy report. Mr Geraghty, however, cited Central Statistics Office figures - claiming they made a "total mockery" of it.

The CSO found public servants earned just 5pc more when organisation size was taken into account, and private sector workers actually earned more when the pension levy was accounted for.

Mr Geraghty also criticised Davy for including commercial semi-State staff.

Mr MacCoille said the pay gap was still 37pc when the semi-State companies were excluded. He said the evidence of a large pay gap had been borne out in European Central Bank and ESRI studies.

"I would have thought they were reasonably like for like, yet you see this enormous gap. Does Mr Geraghty really believe there is something that special about Irish public sector workers that explains that gap?

"I'm happy to be associated with the range of objective studies from the ESRI, ECB and EC amongst others that have found Ireland does have a large public-private pay gap," he said.

"Our view is that the evidence is overwhelming - and I'm very happy to stick by that."

Irish Independent

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