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Croke Park Deal may be renegotiated if economy slumps - Rabbitte

The communications minister says a torrid economy could well force the government to revisit the current public pay deal.

Pat Rabbitte says the Croke Park Deal could be revised if the economy faces more turmoil, and if the current deal does not deliver the savings it needs.
Pat Rabbitte says the Croke Park Deal could be revised if the economy faces more turmoil, and if the current deal does not deliver the savings it needs.

A CABINET MINISTER has conceded that the government could seek to renegotiate the terms of the Croke Park public sector pay deal if the economy hits a further slump.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics last night, communications minister Pat Rabbitte said the deal – which sees public servants agree to increased flexibility in return for the guarantee of no layoffs – would be revisited if its current terms proved unworkable.

“It may well be the case – especially depending on how things go in the eurozone – that we will have to sit down and talk to the unions about renegotiating that agreement,” Rabbitte said.

This would be dependant, he added, on “growth rates, growth projections, and it depends on whether it [the current deal] delivers.”

The current deal, formally adopted last year and which remains in place until 2014, contains a clause which allows the government to seek a renegotiation in the case of a sudden economic shock.

This clause was not taken up by the previous government, despite the major downturn in the public finances.

The public sector is set to lose around 6,000 staff this year – and around 23,000 by 2015 – in a bid to cut the public pay bill without having to enforce mandatory redundancies.

Brendan Howlin last week  told the Public Accounts Committee that up to 9,000 public staff could retire by the end of February, in order to take advantage of a more generous pension regime than they would receive if they retired after that date.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath, speaking after Rabbitte on The Week in Politics, quipped that the Croke Park deal would “have to be scaled down to an Aviva Stadium deal, or something like that.”

EU deal is unlikely to end the crisis in the eurozone – Varadkar

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Gavan Reilly

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