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Gilmore insists more pay cuts not on agenda in ECB talks

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has ruled out the prospect of imposing further pay cuts on workers as part of the ongoing negotiations with the European Central Bank (ECB).

The latest exchequer returns are out today and will show that the State has fallen slightly short of its tax collection targets, and the Government is due to meet with the IMF team to discuss the implementation of the €85bn EU-IMF bailout deal tomorrow.

The ECB has been talking about the need for "downward unit labour cost adjustments" -- code for wage cuts -- in countries with high unemployment and major competitiveness problems.

But Mr Gilmore yesterday denied the negotiations with the EU, ECB and IMF would involve more pay cuts for workers.

"No, that is not the negotiating position. That is not on our agenda," he said.

The Government has pledged to reverse the €1 cut in the minimum wage.

Fianna Fail financial reform spokesman Michael McGrath said further wage cuts could threaten the recovery of the domestic economy.

"We all want to see the economy become as competitive as possible, but we also want citizens to have disposable income so they can spend it in the domestic economy," he said.

Mr Gilmore told RTE's 'This Week' his priority as Foreign Minister would be to launch a "co-ordinated diplomatic drive" among EU member states to win support for the negotiations with the ECB and EU.

The Government is expected to admit today it has less money at its disposal than hoped in the Budget. Most analysts expect the Government to say the State collected less tax than expected when it unveils the exchequer figures for the first three months of the year.