Saturday 20 January 2018

Semi-state staff earn €130 more a week than private sector

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

WORKERS in commercial semi-state companies earn an average of about €130 a week more than private-sector employees.

The largest national workplace survey ever compiled reveals average weekly earnings of workers in enterprises like the ESB and Bord Gais are €808.83, compared with €792.32 in the public sector and €678.35 in the private sector.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan previously ordered a review of pay levels of CEOs in the commercial state sector after it emerged that some executives earned many multiples of the Taoiseach's wages.

ESB boss Padraig McManus earns an annual salary of €750,000, more than three times that of the Taoiseach while Chief Executive of An Post Donal Connell and Chief Executive of the Dublin Airport Authority Declan Collier also took home around €500,000 each, about twice the wage packet enjoyed by Mr Cowen.

Yet, the new survey by researchers from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) revealed that between 2007 and 2009, public servants reported pay cuts more frequently than private sector workers.

In the wake of the pension levy, public servants said they suffered a decline in pay more frequently than private sector workers.

A total of 37pc of public servants said they endured pay cuts, compared with 21pc of private sector workers.

But private sector workers' fears about job security were far greater than public servants' as unemployment reached record levels last year.


The survey charted the impact on public and private sector employees and employers of the dramatic shift in the economy.

It also reveals:

  • More than half of employees reported a reduction in staff at their workplaces in the last two years and one-third said their job security had dropped compared with just 4pc in the last national workplace survey in 2003.
  • One in five workers reported a decline in hourly pay in the previous two years, a factor that was virtually non-existent in the survey seven years earlier.
  • More than half of employees said the pressure they worked under increased in the last two years, compared with 34pc in 2003.
  • The proportion of employees who said they would work harder to help their organisation succeed increased from 81pc to 89pc.
  • There was a marked increase in the willingness of employees to accept change since 2003. But their willingness to accept poorer conditions -- such as having to work unsocial hours -- was found likely to reflect their reduced bargaining power.

Communication is still limited for many Irish workers. A total of 22pc of private sector employees hardly ever receive information on planned changes in the workplace, while 43pc rarely receive information on sales or market share.

In the public sector, 46pc of workers were out of touch with their organisation when it came to data on its financial status.

More than 3,000 employers and 5,100 employees were questioned last year during research for the report, The Changing Workplace: A Survey of Employees' Views and Experiences.

Irish Independent

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