independent

Sunday 21 July 2019

Pay talks right or wrong

Pay talks right or wrong

After years of austerity and tightening our belts, pay talks commenced this week between public sector unions and the government.

Money is returning to the public coffers, tax receipts are up and the government has an election to win.

ISME Chief Executive, Mark Fielding said this week that now is not the time for pay increases, that in opening talks the government are making a political decision based on their interest in getting re-elected.

That may well be true, but if the government did not start pay talks now you could be sure that the coming election campaign would be full of promises of pay increases and tax cuts.

Public sector employees did suffer under austerity, everyone paid more taxes and was hit by taxes in one form or another and now that the economy is improving it is only right that the public should get some benefit.

However we aren't out of the woods yet, our national debt is still huge and we are still spending more than we are earning.

Of course we all want more in pay packets but a giveaway budget and generous pay awards will be another set of short term gains which will have be paid back in the longer term.

Sustainable and affordable tax cuts and pay awards are a better way forward, than the yo-yo boom and bust, but will the government be that prudent and will the unions be that patient?

Trust auntie

A final footnote on the UK General Election.

The viewing figures for the first hour after the polls closed and when the exit poll was revealed were quite remarkable, with BBC lording it over their rivals in ITV, Channel Four and Sky, attracting more viewers than the rest put together.

For all their glitz and bling that we have come to associate with Sky TV and the brand, they were last in the viewing figures with the BBC attracting six million viewers to their 300,000.

Sky's marketing line is Believe in Better, but clearly the British viewers believe in the 'Auntie' BBC when it matters most.

Good luck

Louth seniors play Westmeath in the Leinster Championship this weekend, how the players and the county could do with a win to lift morale after the league campaign.

Irish Independent

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