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John Drennan: Labour warns of public jobs cuts

Labour frontbench spokesperson Sean Sherlock has warned public sector workers, and the Government, that unless the pace of reform intensifies there will have to be compulsory redundancies in the sector.

The Labour TD was commenting on the ongoing failure of the Croke Park deal to deliver any real changes in how the public sector operates.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr Sherlock said: "Croke Park was signed and sealed in April and we have not seen anything emerging since then in terms of a reduction in numbers or changes in work practices."

The Labour TD added that "as a Labour Party politician, what you are faced with is that if the Croke Park agreement does not live up to people's expectations, the political reality, given the state of the national finances, is that unilateral action might have to be taken''.

When asked if this could include job losses, Mr Sherlock said: "If there is not progress on a voluntary basis, we will see a move towards statutory redundancies''.

The Labour spokesperson also warned those trade unionists who were considering delaying public sector reform in the hope that a better deal might be secured under a Labour government that they were wrong.

In a remarkably stark analysis of the alternatives facing the public sector, Mr Sherlock said that under Labour "there is not going to be a Croke Park deal part II, it is this or the nuclear option''.

The Labour TD added that "there is no road out from reform under a Labour government, which intends to look after the national rather than vested interests''.

And he noted that "while nobody wants to countenance eventualities'', such as redundancy, if "Taoiseach Brian Cowen does not show leadership on the reform agenda the mood music within Labour is that we will have to drive tangible process in this area''.

Sunday Independent