Croke Park deal slow to deliver on public-sector reform
Is the pact strangling public services or giving value for taxpayers' money, asks Maeve Sheehan
THE Croke Park Agreement promises to reform the public sector as an efficient workforce, ready and willing to go where needed, no more arcane perks or liberal sick leave. Six months since it was ratified, the best that can be said about the deal is that its public-sector signatories haven't gone on strike despite all that is being asked of them.
This was the primary boast of Dara Calleary, the Minister of State for Labour Affairs, who gave an update on the agreement's progress to the Seanad last Wednesday. He said changes were being implemented "on a daily basis", but when he went on to list them the tangible reforms seemed few. But wasn't it good, went his argument, that public sector workers are still doing the job, without threatening industrial action, despite their two pay cuts and having to take up the slack left by colleagues gone from the system through "natural wastage".
Given the dire state of the economy, rescued by a European bailout, it's the very least that could be expected from a constituency whose wages account for so much of Government spending.