THE decision by the Luas drivers to call off the strike planned for next weekend to facilitate talks must be welcomed.
Hopefully, these talks will reach a conclusion that both sides — workers and employers — can accept. Though not public employees, the Luas dispute is seen as setting the bar for pay ambitions in the transport and wider public sector.
At this point in our economic recovery, no matter how loudly trumpeted, it seems sensible to reconsider the lessons of the past and exercise caution on how public resources might be used, especially as so many services are underfunded and, therefore, not fit for purpose.
That, however, does not mean that the very genuine plight of low-paid workers, including newly recruited nurses, gardaí, and teachers and others can be ignored. Pay rates offered to these workers are unacceptable and undermine the very services they provide. We must face this reality and resolve it. That will mean accepting, as we have so far refused to do, that if we want to live in a decent society we cannot be a low-tax one. We, or anyone else, simply can’t have it both ways.
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