Sunday 18 February 2018

Reform-shy senior civil servants have 'no future'

Martin Frawley

SENIOR public service managers who fail to deliver the reforms under the Haddington Road agreement have no future in the public service, a government source has warned.

Detailing savings of €300m this year from the public service pay bill and €1bn by 2016, the source said that many of the problems with the previous public service pay deal – the Croke Park deal – were with the management side.

Managers in health, for example, must manage their budgets, the source warned.

"We will be hiring more managers on fixed-term contracts of three to five years. If it doesn't work out, the contract will be terminated," the source said.

Managers will be held accountable for the performance and development of their staff, the source stressed.

On the savings under the agreement over the next three years to July 2016, about €210m will come from pay cuts ranging from 5.5pc to 10pc for those earning €65,000 and more.

Cuts in pensions and a partial freeze in increments will deliver a further €130m in savings, or €340m in total.

REDUCTION

Productivity improvements, including a total of 15 million extra hours of work from public servants, will yield savings of €431m. This is made up of €131m from the reduced requirement for overtime and agency working, €125m from the elimination of the supervision and substitution allowance for teachers and €175m by facilitating a reduction in numbers.

Changes to overtime rates and non-core payments in each sector will yield savings of €230m. This brings the grand total to €1bn.

The source acknowledged that some of the cuts, such as those for public servants earning between €65,000 and €100,000 as well as supervision and substitution payments to teachers, would be largely restored in 2017 and 2018.

This will add "a small amount" to the pay bill in those years but he added that this will not affect the €1bn savings over the next three years.

To date, all the public service unions bar the two secondary teachers' unions – the Asti and the Tui – the university teachers' union, Ifut, and Unite, have failed to sign the agreement. Unite will announce its re-ballot result tomorrow and is likely to accept the deal, while the three teachers' unions will ballot in September.

On the prospects of these unions rejecting the deal and thus being subject to the harsher terms imposed via legislation, the source said they would wait and see what happened.

Irish Independent

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