Thursday 23 November 2017

Public wages drop 4pc but pay still beats private sector

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

PUBLIC servants' pay packets have fallen by almost 4pc more than private sector workers -- but they earn €290 a week more.

State employees' weekly earnings fell by 4.4pc compared with a 0.7pc dip in the private sector in the year to the end of June, mainly due to the pay cut they suffered in the last Budget.

However, their average weekly earnings are still far higher at €904.79 gross a week, compared with €613.87 in the private sector.

New figures also reveal that employment in the private sector has dropped more dramatically than in the public sector.

There was a 3.9pc fall in the private sector workforce compared with a 2.7pc fall in public service employees.

The Central Statistics Office's latest Earnings and Labour Costs survey shows that private sector workers earn €19.32 an hour, compared with €28.81 in the public sector.

However, the higher public sector wage does not reflect the drop in net wages suffered by public servants as a result of the pension levy, since March last year, which docked an average 7pc from their wages.

In addition, workers in the commercial semi-state sector, including the ESB and Bord Gais, are paid far higher than those in the wider public sector.

The Central Statistics Office pointed out that public servants tend to be more highly paid internationally, and the categories of workers on lower hourly rates are mainly private sector employees. The lowest paid workers are in accommodation and food services, earning an hourly rate of just €12.48.

Overall, weekly earnings are down by 1.6pc in the year to the end of the second quarter of this year, across the economy.

The average worker's weekly earnings dropped to €690.48, down from €701.73 a year earlier.

The drop is due to a fall in workers' hours and pay.

The largest falls in weekly earnings were in education, where wages fell by more than 8pc, and transport and storage, where pay fell by 7pc.

Irish Independent

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