Friday 24 January 2020

Low paid civil servants warn they’ll strike unless full pay is restored

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Graham Clifford in Killarney

Delegates at the Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU) annual conference in Killarney passed a motion this afternoon threatening the possibility of industrial action if full pay is not restored when the Lansdowne road agreement ceases.

The CPSU represents 12,000 low paid civil servants and its General Secretary Eoin Ronayne told delegates that events might render the motion irrelevant.

He said: “If the Haddington Road Agreement and previous agreements could be ended or negotiated away before their due date then so too can the Lansdowne Road Agreement (which is due to expire in 2018).”

"However a majority in the INEC voted for ‘the Executive Committee (of the CPSU) to write to the Government seeking the full restoration of pay within six weeks of the expiry of the Lansdowne Road Agreement. If the Government does not fully agree, then the committee is to issue a ballot for industrial action within three working days of the expiry of those six weeks.”

Any such industrial action would likely see all public service bodies grind to a halt.

Frustrated delegates told of how they are working many unpaid hours every week and of how they are struggling to get by on unacceptable rates of pay.

Eoin Ronayne warned union members that whatever the make-up of the next Government the lot of public service workers is not likely to drastically improve.

He said: “Let us not fool ourselves into believing that any Government will be easily willing to roll over and meet our demands. The shade will be decidedly centre right and most likely negatively disposed towards the rights of lower paid workers.”

And he said: “there can be no place in the Public Service for cheap yellow pack labour,” after revealing that a new entrant Clerical Officer only gets €9.70 an hour while after five years of yearly incremental awards he or she will still only be on €11.34 an hour. 

Also new entrants to the civil service are earning up to €7,000 a year less than their longer serving counterparts on the same grade.

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