IMPACT defends Croke Park at Oireachtas Finance Committee

Monday 2nd April 2012

IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody recently defended the Croke Park agreement at a special hearing of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform. You can read a transcript of the hearing HERE.

Shay told Oireachtas members that the agreement provides a similar cost-reduction framework to those used by private companies fighting to sustain market share as income, investment and staff numbers fall. He said most struggling private companies opted for staff reductions and changed work practices rather than pay cuts.

He said public service pay cuts had cut gross incomes by an average of 14%, with a further 10% cut for new entrants. “While public servants understand the need for further substantial cost extraction, they are determined that it can be done without further erosion of their pay. And all the experience since the Croke Park agreement was negotiated shows that they are correct,” he said.

He said the Government intended to cut the public service workforce by 38,000 and to slash €3.5 billion off the pay and pension bill by 2015. “Maintaining the range and quality of core public services in this context requires significant changes to working practices, some of which, like reduced dependence on overtime and other premium payments, are themselves cost-reducing,” he said.

Shay outlined examples of reforms being delivered in various public service workplaces and argued against a freeze in public service increments, which have come under attack from TDs of various parties.

Meanwhile, IMPACT has stepped up its defence of the Croke Park agreement. Following much ill-informed criticism of the deal around the time of the budget, senior officials from IMPACT and other unions have met representatives of all the Dáil political groups.

The union has also initiated a regular information bulletin for Oireachtas members and local councillors, and is taking information stands at party conferences. Among other things, the union’s ongoing media work resulted in the publication of a Sunday Business Post opinion article in February.