THE CROKE PARK extension deal reached a crucial stage today – and now the unions involved are considering the latest proposals.
SIPTU’S General President Jack O’Connor said today that the “issue here is to try to evaluate the proposal and try to decide whether or not another strategy would yield a better result”.
Earlier today, after a 13-hour meeting, the Government and the trade unions representing most of Ireland’s 292,000 public sector workers concluded the first steps on extending and amending the terms of the Croke Park pay deal.
The proposals include pay cuts for higher-earning public workers, a freeze on increments for all staff, extended working hours and cuts to the Sunday premium and overtime rate.
O’Connor told the RTÉ 6 O’Clock News that it falls to the executive council of the union to take a view in a week or two on whether or not it will make recommendations on the proposals.
He said that he believed the proposals are “the best that can be achieved by negotiation” and that they now have to be evaluated very carefully.
O’Connor added that the contours on the proposal document “are structured on the basis of people who have the most contributing the most”.
However, Liam Doran of the INMO said their “worst fears are being realised with what we’re hearing” on the proposals. He said that shift work is going to be hit harder and that the proposals are not fair.
Resist urge to oversell
Fianna Fáil Public Expenditure Spokesperson Sean Fleming TD has warned the Government to resist its urge to oversell the proposals.
He also questioned why there is no focus on maintaining public service quality in the agreement and called on Minister Brendan Howlin to explain why he failed to engage directly in the talks to prevent the departure of nursing and Garda unions.
We will carefully examine the documents that have been published and will be coming forward with a series of detailed questions on the implications of what is being proposed over the coming days.