AS THE GOVERNMENT prepares to meet trade unions today, one union has vowed to oppose any cuts brought to the table.
Yesterday, talks began on an extension of the Croke Park Agreement, with pay and pensions in the public sector examined by representatives of 26 worker groups.
The Government is looking to save €300 million this year, and €1 billion over three years by agreeing on significant changes to working conditions and pay.
The UNITE trade union represents 5,000 public sector workers and has vowed to oppose the cuts tabled at today’s meeting between trade unions and the Government.
It said that the only way out of current decline is “through fostering growth, maintaining jobs and bringing the failed policies of austerity to an overdue end”.
UNITE Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly commented:
The Croke Park agreement has saved €1.5 billion according to the implementation body. Part of the original deal was that the wages of low paid workers would be restored once savings were made. The latest ideas though include reducing further the wages of starters in nursing and other areas.
This is an attack on the dignity of work and the respect in which public services are held.
Kelly added that UNITE is entering the talks “to end the downsizing of essential public services, to restore wage fairness for low paid workers, to resist the creation of lower new entrants’ pay scales and to create genuine reform driven by employees”.
He said that if agreement is not reached, UNITE will “take whatever industrial steps are necessary to protect public services for all and the interests of our members”.