Energy and Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte signalled fresh wage misery was on the way unless major savings could be made in working practices.
The Labour Cabinet member’s blunt intervention was being seen as a clear message to unions that much more rapid progress in implementing the Croke Park deal savings is needed.
“Frankly the Government needs to see tangible progress. We want to avoid — if we can avoid — the question of going back to cut basic pay.
“Public servants have taken two very serious reductions in their basic pay and we want to avoid that.
“But if we are going to avoid that, there have to be significant savings in the area of an end to demarcation, more flexible and better ways of delivering quality public services by fewer public servants,” he told RTÉ’s The Week In Politics.
The warning comes after top level departmental briefing notes for Finance Minister Michael Noonan made clear that the country’s economic situation was even worse than had been feared at the time of the last budget. The document stated that only €39m of the €379m expected from the education sector under Croke Park over the next three years had so far been delivered.
The Cabinet is holding an extra meeting today to discuss the economic situation ahead of a scheduled meeting tomorrow.