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Public sector pay gap 'now €300-a-week'

Public sector workers continue to earn far more than private sector workers, new figures revealed.

Weekly pay in the public sector is almost €300 a week higher than wages of people working in non-public jobs, according to the Central Statistics Office.

And the figures indicate the pay gap between the sectors is widening as those working for companies and private employers earn around one-third less than State-backed employees.

Contrast

Average weekly earnings in the public sector in the three months to the end of June were €919 - a marked contrast to the €622 average recorded for the private sector.

And the gap is growing. Average weekly wages in the public sector rose by €15.88 or 1.8pc between the spring and summer quarters of 2014.

But weekly earnings in the private sector fell by €8.53 or 1.4 per cent during the same period.

Overall, average weekly earnings fell to €688.15 by the end of June this year, down from €695.53 a year earlier which represents €21.63 an hour.

But pay in the public sector - including semi-state companies such as the ESB and Irish Rail - is almost 50pc higher at €918.86 a week, or €28.48 an hour.

Average pay in the private sector, across all grades and all industries, was €622 a week, or €19.63 an hour. In a year, it means private sector workers are making €35,780 on average before tax, compared to €47,780 in the public sector.

The figures show a yawning gulf between working for the state compared to any other sector, despite pay in the public sector falling faster than it is among those working for private companies so far this year.

Mark Fielding, chief executive of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, called on the Government to abandon proposed plans to reverse public sector pay cuts in the upcoming budget.

He said the current pay gap represented a huge inequality in Irish society.

Perverse

"It is perverse in the extreme to hear ministers, who should know better, talk about equality and fairness and restoring public sector wage cuts, while we haven't even balanced the books," he said.

"We borrow to pay way more than other countries for our public servants and exorbitantly more than the private sector.

"Two parallel worlds cannot be allowed develop; one consisting of a growing and increasingly affluent, sheltered society and costly public sector, and the other consisting of a private sector being squeezed by productivity challengers, competitiveness issues and the globalisation process," he said.

aokeeffe@herald.ie


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