Tensions arise over application of Croke Park deal

TENSIONS have arisen between trade unions and the Government over the implementation of the Croke Park agreement on public sector reform.

Yesterday at a conference to discuss the deal, IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody accused senior management of failing to engage with his members on its implementation.

Mr Cody, the leader of the country’s largest public sector union, said it was “predictable that the first point of resistance” to reform as outlined in the deal agreed four months ago “will come from management” rather then unions.

Leading multinational boss William Slattery also called for the introduction of a voluntary redundancy scheme to reduce the numbers in the public sector by 30,000 which he claimed would result in €2 billion in savings.

The Irish-born boss of the Irish arm of US financial multinational Slate Street added that these savings, along with further cuts in public pensions, should go towards paying for the growing state deficit rather than restoring public sector workers’ pay as agreed in the Croke Park deal.

An IMPACT spokesman later said that in reality a voluntary redundancy scheme would cost a vast amount, with any savings long-term, and result in major reductions in services, while unions also said any changes to pensions would be “vigorously opposed”.

Further dispute arose from a claim by Minister of State for Public Service Transformation Dara Calleary that the savings generated from the 10,000 reduction in numbers on the state payroll will not count when calculating monies to be redistributed to workers under the Croke Park agreement.

IMPACT spokesman Bernard Harbor said this was not what was agreed in the deal and Mr Calleary’s comments will be discussed at meeting of the agreement’s implementation body in the spring.

In his address Mr Cody said: “The public finances are in a perilous state. The Government’s approach to rescuing the banks seems to be draining the life blood from the country.”

He warned that “inertia was setting-in” to sector reform due to the failure of management to start implementing the deal.

Mr Calleary said he would not comment specifically on the €2.35 million HSE, Department of Health and SIPTU training fund that had been spent on 31 trips around the world.

However he did state that expenditure that could not be justified should not be allowed.


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