THE idea that the economic recovery could be as hard to manage as the recession gained some impetus yesterday when gardaí voted overwhlemingly — 87% to 11% — to reject the Lansdowne Road agreement on public service pay. Last week the AGSI, the organisation representing garda sergeants and inspectors, also rejected the deal. Two teachers’ unions, the ASTI and the TUI, have also voted against it.
Apart from pay ‘restoration’, these votes are indicative of disastrous underinvestment during the crisis, political influence softening hard decisions, poor service levels and now a public sector workforce trying to recover lost ground. These expectations are probably, in our political culture at least, impossible to ignore as an election looms.
However, and no matter how public sector unions might squeal, it would be wrong to divert money so very badly needed to stabilise tottering public services to improve pay rates unless services can be improved too.
The unfortunate reality is that we need more public servants, not better paid public servants.
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