A local SIPTU representative has launched a stinging attack on Galway West TD Seán Kyne for his criticism of the Croke Park Agreement this week.
Local SIPTU Industrial Organiser Paul Hardy said claims that increments are not covered by the Croke Park Agreement are wrong, and that the Labour Court has consistently held that increments – the process of proceeding along a pay scale for a number of years before the employee reaches the full rate for the job – are part of the ‘pay rates’ protected by the agreement.
“Deputy Kyne says that there is ‘a strong argument’ for protecting the salaries of lower-paid workers, but he falls short of an actual commitment to do so,” said Mr Hardy, adding that stopping the payment of increments penalises younger and lower-paid staff.
The SIPTU official said fewer than two per cent of public servants earn more than €100,000 per annum, and so savings on increments and allowances for those staff “will not amount to much”.
Commenting on the op-ed written by Deputy Kyne and seven other Fine Gael TDs in the Irish Examiner on Monday, Mr Hardy said it is “most jarring” to hear representatives of Fine Gael advocating the “breaking of individual contracts of employment”.
“Public service workers, like other employees, are entitled to expect some security around their income, which has been cut by 14 per cent since 2010, and that of new entrants by another ten per cent. It is untrue to say that Croke Park prevents unilateral cuts to pay; the same law of the land which protects private-sector workers does that,” said Mr Hardy.
He also stressed that it is not possible for the Government to reduce numbers of public service workers by 38,000 in the coming years while maintaining service provision without providing some stability for staff, and that the Croke Park reform processes are modelled on similar ‘downsizing’ processes in private industry. He added that attacking wages “has not brought about economic recovery and it won’t now”.