Sunday 18 March 2018

'Copper-fastened' deal all comes down to the nuts and bolts

The cracks are beginning to show already in the Croke Park agreement, writes Emer O'Kelly

There's a nice, copper-fastened deal, apparently. And it's full steam ahead. The Croke Park deal on public service pay and pensions has been ratified by the Public Services Committee of the Irish Congress of Trades Unions. Well, nearly. Well, sort of. Well, just about.

The workers within the public service, reluctantly, but in the interests of the national welfare and good fellowship with the vast numbers of unemployed in the private sector who had no guarantee of a job for life, have taken on board the logic as put forward by the broker of that deal, Kieran Mulvey, and have bowed to the force of his logic and that of the trade union leaders who have accepted that the price of national recovery will be painful and long-term. Well, some of them. Well, a few of the leaders. Well, about two thirds of the workers in the public service. Actually, 65.8 per cent of them.

Copper-fastened indeed. But then, there'll be an Implementation Body set up to oversee the deal in action over the next couple of years. And naturally, the brokers of the Croke Park deal weren't stupid enough not to set down in stone the terms for that Implementation Body, and its membership, all decided and, well, copper-fastened, before the deal was put to the vote among the membership of the unions. Kind of. The terms provide for representation from public service employees and management only. Except that a lot of what will happen will inevitably have a follow-on effect in the private sector.

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