Wednesday 13 December 2017

Croker deal kicks reform into touch

Public servants should count themselves lucky to have won an agreement that guarantees job security, writes Leo Varadkar

Most analysis of the Croke Park agreement on public sector pay and reform has focused on whether a majority of our 350,000 public servants will vote for the deal negotiated by their union leaders. But there has been very little debate about whether it is a good deal for the 4.5 million taxpayers and users of public services, the citizens of our country.

Moreover, few commentators have picked up on the fact that the agreement is not social partnership. It is an accord between public sector employers and their employee unions, mediated by the Labour Relations Commission. It could be binding on the next government as well as this one. So it's important to get it right.

Union bosses like Jack O'Connor and Sheila Nunan deserve some credit. As in politics, it is often the hardliners who turn out to be the ones who can cut a deal and carry their base with them.

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