Low-paid workers reject pay deal

THE union representing low-paid workers in the public service has become the first to reject the Croke Park deal on public service pay and reform.

After a three-week ballot, the leadership of the Civil, Public and Services Union yesterday announced that 67% of those who had voted had opposed the deal.

The union’s general secretary Blair Horan said CPSU members did not trust the Government and did not believe its commitment to start restoring the pay cuts imposed on low-paid workers in last December’s budget.

However, he said in spite of the result the union would not rush into an escalation of industrial action but would wait for an outcome of all the unions’ ballots.

To date, two unions have voted to accept the deal, the Public Service Executive Union and the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants.

There are 19 trade unions balloting their members. Each union has representation on the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) public services committee.

Once all the individual ballots are complete, the committee itself will hold a second ballot of those representatives to decide what the overall ICTU response is to the plan. The number of votes each union will have in that second ballot will be dependent on the size of its membership. Even if the ICTU ballot yields a result in favour of the Croke Park deal, a number of unions, most notably the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation have already said they will not be bound by the deal’s terms.

Meanwhile, INMO last night began a series of regional information meetings where the executive explained its reasons for pushing for a rejection of the deal.

The nursing union is to meet with Health Minister Mary Harney next Monday to discuss the effects of the recruitment embargo upon patients and workloads, and to detail its alternative approach to reforming the public health service.

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