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Croke Park targets for local government staffing 'already met'

IMPACT’s national secretary tells its annual conference that local government staffing targets for this year have been met already.

File photo of IMPACT public service strikes in 2009
File photo of IMPACT public service strikes in 2009
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A NATIONAL CONFERENCE of the main public service trade union, IMPACT, has been told that the end-of-2011 staffing targets for the size of the local government workforce have already been met.

The union’s national secretary for local government, Peter Nolan, told the conference in Castlebar that the targets laid down in the national Croke Park pay deal for this year had already been achieved, meaning extra savings could potentially be offered this year.

But Nolan warned that some commentators and economists were seeking to “sow the feeds of fatalism” about the prospect of further cuts to public service pay, and encouraged workers to keep delivering savings as budgets continue to be cut.

“They are at it again, with daily opinion pieces saying Croke Park will ‘obviously’ fail and that it is ‘inevitable’ that more public service pay cuts will be imposed. They are wrong,” a defiant Nolan told the conference.

“The Government parties have repeatedly said that they will honour the agreement so long as it continues to deliver the necessary savings and reforms. Even the IMF-EU troika has taken the same position. Don’t listen to the naysayers, but keep on delivering in order to protect your job, pay, and pension.”

RTÉ News reports that Jerry King, the head of the union’s Local Government and Education Division whose conference is being held, said figures compiled under the first review of the agreement would show extensive savings had already been delivered in the sector.

Those figures would end any speculation that the employer’s side could pull out of the agreement and cause it to collapse.

Environment minister Phil Hogan had said last week that the agreement had seen the country’s local government services deliver around €162m in savings so far, through measures which included the loss of 6,600 jobs.

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The conference also voted overwhelmingly to support a “vigorous” campaign to support the homeless, and rejected government proposals limiting the right of Air Traffic Controllers to take industrial action.

It also expressed concerns that the creation of a national agency to manage water supply and maintenance could be the first step towards privatising national domestic water delivery, leading to poorer quality water in the country’s taps.

Separately this afternoon, Labour backbench TD Dominic Hannigan has called on the State to reduce the €443,000 contribution it made to the Irish Business and Employers Confederation on behalf of state agencies, arguing the government could get a better membership deal.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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