The public service deal: historic betrayal of public service union members

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[Statement from the National Public Services Alliance]

The “public service deal” is historic betrayal of public service union members by ICTU and its Public Services Negotiating Committee of general secretaries.

National Public Services Alliance calls on the elected national executives of individual unions to reject these destructive proposals without ballot where rules permit.

Should national executives put these proposals to ballot, NPSA will campaign vigorously in each union for a “no” vote

NPSA also calls on all national executive committees of individual unions to keep directives and forms of industrial action in place rejecting the call by Kieran Mulvey to end industrial action.

But there is no guarantee that the public service pay cut will be restored according to Kieran Mulvey on RTE on Tuesday morning even if cost savings are made.

Government can break this agreement, including the restoration of pay cuts, at any time in future if government deems that the economic situation requires this. While there are review dates there are no dates for actual payment and no agreed amounts in each phase.

Staff will be forced to accept redeployment even out of their profession under pain of compulsory redundancy.

This means that ICTU and the General Secretaries have conceded that public servants are no longer permanently employed as previously understood.

The general secretaries have agree that the Staffing Moratorium and “Pension Levy”(discriminatory tax on public servants) will continue.

For the first time public service union leaders have accepted the principal of compulsory redundancy in public service.

The existing Pension scheme has been given away by the general secretaries for new entrants with a vastly inferior scheme being introduced for next year.

A pay freeze in the public service has been agreed until 2014 even if the economy recovers and comparable employees secure pay rises.

Shameful Betrayal

ICTU is collaborating with government in cutting back public services in schools, hospitals, universities, social welfare offices, passport offices, and local authorities etc.

The general secretaries have explicitly agreed to the continuation of the staffing moratorium. Already thousands of public service posts have been eliminated including 1,540 nursing posts, several hundred teaching posts, 1200 Special needs assistants for students with disabilities, thousands of pastoral care posts in schools,and several hundred lecturing posts.

The suggestion that these eliminations can be replaced by redeployment and flexibility is a blatant falsehood.

A fire sale of conditions of service, established over decades, has been conducted by the general secretaries.

The demand for a contribution from the super rich through assets tax and a third income tax band has been dropped while the unions are acquiescing in cuts in social welfare.

The €50 billion in assets of the top 300 individuals are being left untouched while €22 billion is being poured into banks who are increasing mortgage repayments.

Now €2 billion per year is to be extracted from public service provision to pay debt service on the untold billions being used to bail out banks and developers.

It is outrageous that public servants should be asked to vote on the alternatives of foregoing urgently needed pay restoration or maintaining their conditions of service.

ICTU and the General Secretaries have allowed the government to cut pay and to blackmail public servants into agreeing to entirely inappropriate changes in public service provision and conditions of service.

Unilateral abrogation of current pay agreement by government is agreed by general secretaries (Public Services Negotiating Committee) though being paid in private sector and commercial state sponsored bodies.

Cost savings will be funded from elimination of posts under moratorium, loading the work on the remaining employees and the application of Transformation Agenda including cuts in health, education and general public service provision.

The wholesale elimination of promotional posts under the moratorium is a reduction in life long earnings and pensions of public servants.

Government has “promised” to avoid further pay cuts but only until 2014 provided cost savings are delivered!(but this government will probably be long gone by then).

Pay cut may be restored in stages over a number of years provided that:

1) The changes in conditions of service have actually taken place
2) The savings have actually been achieved in each individual employment(eg if primary and second level teachers don’t agree cost saving measures in schools, they will not have pay cuts restored)
3) Review dates will be in Spring each year beginning in 2011 but this is not the date for restoration of a proportion of the pay cut

A mechanism along the lines of the current Performance Verification group will be established now called the Implementation Group.

This will lead to employment contracts and other changes being renegotiated with the gun of non-restoration of pay cuts and further pay cuts to the head of the unions and with management in the driving seat.

This “deal” will seriously damage public service unions unless it is defeated.

National Public Service Alliance intends to deliver such a defeat.