Renua Ireland reaffirms its opposition to public sector pay restoration

Wicklow TD and Renua deputy leader Billy Timmins.

The Renua Ireland political party has restated its opposition to public sector pay restoration.

During a studio debate with IMPACT communications officer Niall Shanahan on Newstalk FM’s The Right Hook on Tuesday (3rd November), the party’s deputy leader, Billy Timmins TD, said that the party opposed public sector pay restoration on the grounds that it “damaged Ireland’s competitiveness.”

Mr Timmins declined to say whether or not the party would stick to the terms of the Lansdowne Road Agreement if the party was in Government after the next general election.

The party launched one of two public sector policy documents this week, proposing the abolition of incremental pay for public sector workers and instead using the funds to create a ‘merit based’ pay system. The party leader, Lucinda Creighton TD, said that under-performing public servants should also face sanctions, up to and including dismissal.

In response Niall pointed out that, based on 2013 figures, the vast majority of public servants have reached the top of their incremental payscale, with almost two thirds of civil servants already on their salary maximum (2013 figures). He said that the vast majority of these (about 75%) are low and middle income workers, and that lower paid grades tend to have more points on their payscale.

Niall said that Renua were trying to resurrect the divisive and damaging public debate that emerged in the early years of the economic crisis, which attempted to divide public and private sector workers.

Lansdowne Road legislation debated

In a recent Dáil debate on the Government’s legislation to give effect to the agreed pay restoration measures in the Lansdowne Road Agreement, Fianna Fáil said it would support the legislation. Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said  that the party has insisted on pay moderation and a recognition that there is “still a small number of people in the system that were being overpaid.”

General election

IMPACT plans to issue a series of questions to all of the political parties and groups contesting the next general election, which is expected in the early months of 2016. The parties responses to the questions will be published on the IMPACT website and in the ebulletin as we draw closer to the election.

The questions will include whether parties are prepared to honour the terms of the Lansdowne Road Agreement, including pay restoration measures, protection against compulsory redundancies and the improved protections on outsourcing. Other questions deal with homelessness and the housing crisis, job creation, the Living Wage, the public ownership of Irish water and sanitation services, health, early childhood care and special education services.

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