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Public sector to battle cut in 'perks'

PUBLIC sector workers may lose allowances under a review being carried out by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin.

The move could lead to industrial action as members of the Public Service Executive Union pledge to fight any cuts.

Mr Howlin warned of the cuts at the union AGM in Kilkenny. He said that all 800 allowances -- paid on top of basic salary -- were being reviewed.

He stressed that the cuts could affect not just future employees of the public service but also those currently in receipt of some of the allowances. These range from allowances for being a personal secretary to a minister to on-call allowances for computer staff.

Union members believe that any reduction of the allowances currently paid to staff would be in breach of the Croke Park agreement and they would be resisted up to and including industrial action. Allowances currently cost the Government €1.5bn over and above basic pay and it wants to cut that bill by 5pc this year.

New recruits or staff promoted since February 1 have not been eligible for allowances pending the review.