Unions hit out at tax hikes and public sector job cuts

Tax hikes and public sector job cuts announced in today’s Budget came under fire from unions and employers’ groups.

The country’s largest union Siptu said the 1% levy on middle and lower income workers earning up to €100,000 would inflict hardship.

SIPTU general president Jack O’Connor said the levy would inflict further hardship on middle to lower earners,

“The principle applied should have been to ensure that those who benefited most from the Celtic Tiger should have paid the most,” he said.

“This levy should have had a threshold and been graduated to ensure that no-one on average industrial earnings, or less, should have had to pay anything.

Employers’ group Ibec said it was disappointed the Government opted to raise taxes rather than cut public spending.

“Business recognises the need to take corrective measures to stabilise our public finances,” said IBEC director general Turlough O’Sullivan.

“Nevertheless, in the minister’s efforts to achieve this, IBEC would have preferred a greater emphasis on cutting current expenditure rather than on increasing taxation.

Impact said increased taxes should not influence members voting on the new national pay deal.

It also said the civil service job cuts will have a major negative effect on public services.

“Despite the Budget, the national pay deal remains the best possible outcome for workers in these difficult economic circumstances,” said IMPACT deputy general secretary Shay Cody.

“Opposing the pay deal won’t change the Budget or force increases in public spending.

“Our public service is not over-staffed, so early retirement and redundancies would mean fewer or worse services and its imperative that Government works with its staff to avoid hurting the most vulnerable.

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