Strike threat lifted after Croke Park deal ratified
THE threat of public sector industrial action is off the agenda for at least four years after yesterday's final safe passage of the Croke Park deal.
The new pact by state employees with the Government was formally ratified after they backed it by two to one.
Their clear endorsement by 65.8pc of workers also gives the Government the green light to carry out extensive reforms which, it claims, will transform the public sector. If these deliver savings, public servants will get the same amount back. The payments will represent refunds of part or all of the €2bn slashed from their wages as a result of the pension levy and the last Budget's pay cut.
The umbrella body for public sector unions rubber-stamped the deal, which runs until 2014, at a meeting yesterday, following two months of balloting by 19 unions affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions' public services committee.
Speaking after the meeting, chairman of the public services committee Peter McLoone said it would"take immediate steps" to implement the agreement.
Mr McLoone also repeated his call on the Taoiseach to "get off his backside" to ensure that managers who operated like "islands" implemented the deal.
The unions will also seek early agreement on the membership of an implementation body that will oversee the reform plan and pay cut refund programmes. The composition of this is likely to lead to rows.
IBEC has warned the Government it wants private sector bosses on the body to bolster public confidence that the deal will deliver. The Croke Park deal only makes provision for public service management and union nominees on this body, although an independent chairman will be appointed.
The Teachers Union of Ireland and Irish Federation of University Teachers, who voted against the deal, have not accepted the decision. But neither has threatened immediate industrial action and they are not expected to withdraw from the committee. They are unlikely to take action unless the Government unveils plans for a revamp of teaching contracts.
Nine unions have voted against the deal but most indicated they will accept the committee's majority decision.
Yesterday's result was reached by adding together 'card votes' allocated to each union, based on one card vote per 100 members.
The verdict was 1,899 votes in favour and 986 against, out of a total 2,885 votes.