The civil service is ahead of its 2011 targets in terms of reducing staffing numbers under the Croke Park Agreement, a conference has heard today.
Delegates at the Annual Conference of the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants (AHCPS) in Dublin heard that by the end of the first quarter of 2011, the numbers in the civil service have been reduced to 36,079.
This is already ahead of the 36,200 target for the end of the year that was agreed between public service unions and the Government under the Croke Park Agreement, the association’s general secretary Dave Thomas said.
Mr Thomas stated that overall public service numbers have now fallen by 16,000 in the last two years, creating savings of €900m, and that numbers are continuing to fall.
“In the first year of the Croke Park Agreement, it is evident that the deal is delivering what it set out to achieve,” he said.
“Numbers have been reduced. Redeployments have taken place. And new arrangements on shared services have been implemented. This has been achieved while a moratorium on recruitment to the public service remains in place, and without the threat of further industrial action.
“While we fully recognise the extent of the economic problems that confront the new Government, and that there is some way to go in regard to reforming and modernising the public service, the omens from Year One are encouraging.
“In this regard, the association is fully prepared to work with the new Government and other unions on achieving further efficiencies and savings throughout the public service. However, we do not believe there is scope to make further pay reductions given the reductions in salary, pensions, and entitlements that my members have endured in recent years.
“Furthermore, while we are open to further recruitment of staff from outside the civil service to senior positions, we cannot accept a situation whereby serving civil servants are debarred from applying for these positions. To do so is to actively discriminate against ambitious and hardworking public servants who do vital work on behalf of the State.
“In the coming year we will continue to work with the new Government on these issues, and on ensuring the implementation of the measures under the Croke Park Agreement, to deliver a modern and effective civil service that will help contribute towards economic recovery.”