Public workers to take pay cuts protest to Dáil

Thousands of public-sector workers will protest outside the Dáil tomorrow night over being hit in the pockets in the Budget.

Dublin-based teachers, nurses, firemen and civil servants will voice their objections over savage pay cuts while TDs inside discuss the legislation to slash their wages by between 5% and 15%.

David Begg, general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and Sheila Nunan, incoming general secretary of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), will address members during the two-hour demonstration from 6pm to 8pm.

Mr Begg described the Budget as the most right-wing ever and warned decisions to cut public-sector pay was part of an agenda to drive down wages across the whole economy

They bore the brunt of attempts by Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan, to balance the books.

Elsewhere unemployment benefits for young claimants were halved, cut dole payments cut by €8 a week, reduced child benefits by €16 a month and introduced a 50c charge on medical prescriptions.

Meanwhile petrol and diesel rose with a carbon tax, which will also be applied to home heating oil, coal and peat briquettes coming in to effect next May.

Mr Begg called on all public sector unions to have their members attend the protest.

Meanwhile Siptu members in CIE rejected calls by the Finance Minister for pay cuts in the commercial semi-state transport body.

Union organiser, Willie Noone, said: “We have already agreed a cost cutting plan with Dublin Bus in which we have taken considerable pain while we have reached agreement with the management of Irish Rail on many different occasions at every level.

“That is the way we will continue to negotiate on behalf of our members.

“I want to make it clear to the Minister and his colleague, Noel Dempsey, the Minister for Transport that our members will not accept pay cuts at CIE and will absolutely resist any attempt to enforce them.”

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