In the coming weeks, many of us will meet relatives or friends we might not have seen for a year.
In the hope that this remains a season of goodwill, certain topics are tacitly off limits. US president Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, yesterday, may be one, especially for those who grew up under a brooding Che Guevara poster.
Anyone who mentions the Eighth Amendment risks life and limb — it is the landmine topic of the season. Others, though maybe not as nitro-glycerine volatile, are the public and private sector pay and pensions.
Each side is steadfast that right is on its side. Public employees point to private sector pay levels way beyond what they can aspire to, despite the fact that the great majority of private sector workers are in the same position.
Private sector workers point to the gap — contested — outlined in a report this year that found public-sector workers earn 40% more, on average, than peers in the private sector.
The Davy report found average public-sector wages hit €47,400, compared with €33,900 in the private sector.
In a submission to the Public Service Pay Commission, yesterday, Impact said the civil service struggles to recruit staff because of pay differences.
This gap is usually used as leverage to win pay rises, but the pension advantage is never questioned or properly costed.
In the name of economic stability and social justice, maybe it’s time to invoke a new principle — nothing is benchmarked until everything is benchmarked.