Wednesday 13 December 2017

‘Substantial’ new public service job losses imminent – Howlin

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin. Photo: Collins
Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin. Photo: Collins reporters

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin warned that "substantial" new job losses in the public sector are coming down the track, despite savings achieved so far under the Croke Park agreement.

Under the terms of the EU/IMF deal, the Government is under pressure to find savings of over €20bn per annum in the public services bill.

However, the savings of over €600m achieved so far are not enough, he added.

“In view of the severe fiscal constraints we face, the reality is that further significant cuts in expenditure, coupled with further substantial reductions in the numbers employed in the public sector, are unavoidable,” Mr Howlin said.

Much of the €289m in payroll savings has been generated as a result of the reduction of 5,349 personnel employed since the agreement was put in place.

However, it also points to a reduction in overtime payments, costs of running medical laboratory services and a cut of about 2,000 in the number of posts attracting allowances for special responsibilities in the education sector.

The report also maintains that in addition to the payroll savings of €289m, reductions of about €300m have been realised on the non-pay side.

“We need to move forward quickly to build on the important progress that has been achieved to date and accelerate the delivery and implementation or urgently needed reform,” he said.

“At the same time, we must also ensure that services to the public are maintained and improved to the greatest extent possible.”

The Croke Park pay and reform deal was thrashed out last March after weeks of intense negotiations between Government and unions.

It promised not to hit state employees with any more pay cuts until 2014 if extensive reforms in work practices were implemented.

Mr Howlin warned government staff that more was needed from them under the Croke Park deal to bring about urgent reform of the public sector.

The deal, while protecting the pay of civil servants to 2014, also committed to a review on pay each spring and no further redundancies as long as staff are flexible about transfers.

See also: Blogs - Why this deal just tinkers at the edges

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