Croke Park news 2011
The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform’s statement of 2012 Government expenditure yesterday did not target public service pay increments, despite calls from Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay and others.
Maintaining the level and quality of public services with 6,000 fewer staff and €1.4 billion less current spending, against a background of growing demand for services, will be a huge challenge. That was IMPACT’s reaction to yesterday’s Government statement of 2012 public spending and staffing plans.
Unions have been assured that planned measures to cut spending on allowances and premium payments will be done within the scope of the Croke Park agreement, which does not allow for cuts in the rates themselves. Officials from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform have sought consultation with unions, which is likely to focus on other ways of reducing the bill for premium payments.
IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody has written to all TDs and senators to tell them about the savings and reforms being achieved under the Croke Park agreement. The initiative followed the publication of a progress report from the Croke Park implementation body last month, and aimed to counter criticisms – mostly made on an anonymous basis – by a small number of backbenchers.
Croke Park progress continues
The latest progress report from the Croke Park national implementation body reveals that public service staff numbers fell by over 5,500 between last December and September 2011. Progress was also made on leave standardization, rationalization of agencies, shared services, redeployment and other reforms.
The number of public servants will shrink to 282,500 by 2015, down from a peak of 320,000 in 2008, according to new Government targets. The reduction of 37,500 posts would alone reduce the public service pay bill by over €2.5 billion – or 15% – compared to 2008. New staffing targets for each sector will be published with the Budget.
New Government proposals, which envisage no cuts in leave for the great majority of public servants, will mean that no existing public servant gets more than 32 days leave from next year. The cap, which will fall to 30 days for new entrants, would come into effect in 2012.
The Croke Park agreement remains on course to deliver the savings and reforms required under the Government’s agreement with the IMF-EU ‘troika’ But it will be tested with the publication of the Government’s comprehensive spending review later this year and, again, when thousands of public servants retire early in 2012.
Secretary general sets out reform agenda
The public service will have between 270,000 and 280,000 staff when current Government reforms are implemented, according to the secretary general of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform