| 6.3°C Dublin

Siptu's O'Connor: Croke Park II is 'dead'

THE Croke Park II deal “is dead” after members of the country’s largest union rejected the proposed agreement.

SIPTU has voted against the agreement to slash €1bn from the state payroll over three years, despite its leaders’ recommendation of a yes vote.

 

Given the ballot results already announced, no combination of votes by the 20 public sector unions can now get the deal over the line.

 

The union’s 63,000 members rejected the proposals to cut premium pay, increase hours, and cut pay for those earning over €65,000 by a margin of 53.7pc to 46.3pc in favour.

 

SIPTU General President Jack O’Connor appealed to the government not to go down the path of confrontation and impose pay cuts on all 290,000 public servants.

 

“The proposal is dead,” he said. “The proposal is rejected. It cannot be accepted now.”

 

He urged the government to try to find a negotiated settlement rather than imposing cuts, whether they are across the board pay cuts or its opening gambit at talks.

 

The union leader said people who rejected the proposals are resolved to take industrial action if the government proceeds unilaterally.

 

Teachers, civil and public servants and members of Siptu trade union all rejected the agreement today, throwing options for radical savings into chaos.

 

It had been expected that SIPTU might wait until tomorrow to issue its result when all 20 public sector unions, who are members of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, announce the final result of all ballots.

 

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation has also voted against the deal.

General secretary Sheila Nunan said the result reflects a justified sense of grievance over who was being asked to bear an unfair proportion of the country's financial adjustment.

 

"The cumulative impact of five years of severe education cuts, the worst effects of which teachers were trying to mitigate for their pupils, also contributed to the outcome," she said.

The country's second largest union, IMPACT, had earlier voted in favour of the deal by a margin of 56pc to 44pc.

The Government has threatened to imposed pay cuts of up to 7pc if the deal is not passed by the ICTU.

Ten unions have now voted against the deal, with four in favour.

Those in favour are the Public Service Executive Union, the Prison Officers Association, and two small unions - the plasterers’ union OPATSI and construction workers’ union BATU.

The PSEU, which represents mid-ranking civil servants and issued its result today, said its members made a difficult choice in voting for certainty over uncertainty.

Its members have largely avoided cuts to their basic pay and allowances under the deal, as they start at a threshold of over €65,000.

“Public servants cannot be expected to continue to take a disproportionate share of our country’s burden,” said General Secretary Tom Geraghty.

“This has to be the last occasion on which such huge sacrifices are required of them.”

UNITE is the latest union to vote against the deal, which has been rejected by the Civil, Public and Services Union, the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants and the Teachers Union of Ireland.

The Medical Laboratory Scientists Association, construction union UCATT, the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union, the Irish Federation of University Teachers, and the Veterinary Officers Association of Ireland have also rejected the deal.

UNITE Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said his union will stand with other unions against any government attempt to force through the plan.

"This has been a democratic process which the government sought to disrupt through threats and bully tactics," he said.

"We now have to follow through the wishes of our members and will do so by standing against any attempt by government to railroad imposed cuts through a technical device at the ICTU or legislation that would tear up any basis of trust that exists between worker and employer."

Online Editors