Saturday 18 November 2017

Union chiefs to take pay cut if members pass deal

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

THE heads of unions who negotiated the new pay deal with the Government have promised to cut their own wages if the agreement is passed by rank-and-file workers.

After queries from the Irish Independent, the country's biggest trade union SIPTU released a statement saying its senior officials, including general president Jack O'Connor, will take the cut if the deal is passed.

The pay deal has a series of rising pay cuts for people earning over €65,000, ranging from 5pc to 10pc of earnings over €185,000.

Although paid from union rather than public funds, the union bosses say they will also cut their pay if the agreement is passed.

However, the unions could not speak for other staff in their organisations because any proposed reductions would have to be negotiated, and insisted this was not on their agenda.

In a joint statement, Mr O'Connor, SIPTU general secretary Joe O'Flynn and vice-president Patricia King said they had intended to take pay cuts anyway.

They are all paid €115,000.

"We had intended to declare our intention to take a further pay reduction on the basis that everyone on higher rates of pay should be contributing more through taxation but decided to await the outcome of the public service talks," the statement said.

"We will be taking the pay reduction as per the proposals in the document prepared by the Labour Relations Commission.

Once again, we reiterate our view that the proper way to secure a contribution from everyone on higher incomes should be through progressive taxation and should not be just imposed on people working in the public service."

David Begg, the general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, will also take a cut if the deal is passed.

Mr Begg is understood to have taken a 10pc cut on his €137,400 last year.

His pay is based on the assistant secretary grade in the civil service. His last pay cut was in line with previous reductions in public sector pay.

A spokesman said the deal had not yet been agreed, but said Mr Begg will reduce his wages if it is.

A spokesman for IMPACT said its general secretary Shay Cody would also be taking cuts in line with the agreement if it is accepted by its members, as will Shiela Nunan of the Irish National Teacher's Organisation.

Mr Cody was paid €162,062 last year, and he waived some of his salary upon his appointment to the position of general secretary of his union.

Ms Nunan is reported to be paid in the region of €150,000, which is linked to the salary of an assistant secretary general in the civil service.

Irish Independent

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