Croke Park (© Paul Reynolds)

Croke Park II – They’re back!

In Blog, Politics by Fedayn0 Comments

Croke Park (© Paul Reynolds)

Croke Park (© Paul Reynolds)

SIPTU President Jack O’Connor spoke with Matt Cooper on The Last Word (Today FM) this evening. Following last night’s dramatic, although not totally unexpected, walkout by four unions the outcome of the talks with the remaining 2/3rds of unions’ representatives was eagerly awaited.

Listen Here to Matt Cooper’s interviews with Jack O’Connor and then a debate between Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou MacDonald and Junior Minister Brian Hayes. The programme concludes with interviews of Eoin Ronayne of CPSU and Jimmy Kelly of UNITE who walked out of the talks last night.

O’Connor spoke strongly without saying he would recommend or otherwise the proposals that came from the LRC last night/this morning.

The unions which walked out were not perturbed by the cuts to high-earners but say they were concerned with people having to bank hours, or how flexi-time would work. The increase in minimum hours per week could hurt those who need to pay for childcare obviously.

The proposals include the following : (via theJournal.ie)

  • The deal will run for three years, from July 2013 to June 2016. The current Croke Park Agreement was due to expire in June 2014, at the end of a four year term.
  • The deal will achieve the entire €1 billion in savings sought by the government over the three-year period. This is in addition to the estimated €1 billion that the existing Croke Park deal was likely to save between June 2012 and June 2014. The independent implementation body says the deal saved €1.5 billion between 2010 and 2012.
  • There will be sliding pay cuts for workers earning above €65,000 a year. These are as follows:
    • A 5.5 per cent pay cut (on the first €80,000 of salary and allowances) for staff earning over €65,000 a year
    • An 8 per cent cut for staff earning over €80,000
    • A 9 per cent cut for staff earning over €150,000
    • A 10 per cent cut for staff earning over €185,000.
  • Working hours will increase across the public service, in an effort to reduce agency costs and to help cover the workload left by staff leaving the sector. Those working under 35 hours a week will now work a minimum of 37 hours. Those working between 35 and 39 hours a week will work a minimum of 39 hours.
  • Overtime rates will be cut and are now linked to a workers’ salary. Those earning under €35,000 will receive overtime at time-and-a-half. Those on over €35,000 will be paid at time-and-a-quarter. Workers currently on 39 hours a week will provide an unpaid hour’s overtime.
  • The Sunday premium will be retained, but at a reduced rate – going from double-time to time-and-three-quarters. Saturday payments are unaffected, but ‘Twilight payments’ – where staff are paid time-and-one-sixth for work between 6pm and 8pm, or until the end of a rostered shift – will go.
  • The deal freezes increments for public staff depending on how much they earn. Those on under €35,000 will have their next increment delayed by three months; those between €35,000 and €65,000 will have the next twoincrements delayed by three months apiece. Staff over €65,000 will have to wait three years for the next increment.
  • Workers at the top ends of their pay scales will lose either six days of annual leave over the next three years, or half of the value of their last increment, whichever costs them less.
  • In the education sector, teachers will lose their supervision and substitution payments – though TheJournal.ie understands that entrants in the last two years will maintain this, or alternatively receive a modest salary increase, to reflect larger previous cuts to their salaries since 2010.
  • The public sector pension levy will be cut modestly, with pay between €15,000 to €20,000 now subject to a rate of 2.5 per cent instead of 5 per cent.
  • Other measures described by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform include:
    • Revisions to flexitime arrangements and work-sharing patterns
    • Revisions to redeployment provisions, though the 45km maximum limit is thought to be maintained
    • Strengthened performance management arrangements
    • Proposals to restructure grades in the public sector

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