Sunday 19 November 2017

Colm O'Rourke: High time for unions to face up to reality

Anyone with an ounce of sense knows that there is no appetite for public service strikes, says Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke

Colm O'Rourke

LAST week quite a lot of people got a little hot under the collar after I made a few observations on modern Ireland. The balance of personal response was obviously a bit negative as I work in the public sector with a lot of people whom I admire greatly for their general attitude to their work. Coming from a house with a daughter who is a teacher and a son who will be one, did not add to my popularity either.

The best comments, as always in these cases, were made by those who did not read the article at all but had heard about it. That is why the Irish phrase was invented, Duirt bean liom gur duirt bean lei.

Yet the basic tenet of the argument remains. A loud and intransigent public sector is out of synch with reality. At the height of the employment boom there were about six times more private sector workers than in the public sector. That ratio has disimproved as the recession has hit, yet those losing jobs have often no voice as very many don't belong to a trade union.

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