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UNITE demands explanation over economic effect of €1bn pay saving

The trade union says it can’t consider cutting members’ pay unless it knows what effect the cuts will have on the economy.

Jimmy Kelly of UNITE wants a breakdown of how cutting public pay by €1 billion will affect the economy.
Jimmy Kelly of UNITE wants a breakdown of how cutting public pay by €1 billion will affect the economy.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

ONE OF THE MAJOR trade unions taking part in talks on extending the Croke Park public pay deal, in efforts to cut public pay by a further €1 billion, has demanded an analysis of the economic impact the cuts would have.

UNITE says the government has insisted the cuts are necessary to rein in public spending – but that participants in the talks have not yet been told why the cuts are considered so necessary, or what effect they would have on the economy as a whole.

Regional secretary Jimmy Kelly said negotiators had been offered “no indication of the likely effect they will have on jobs and the economic life of ordinary citizens from all walks of life across our communities.”

UNITE says it would not allow employees’ wages to be considered for cuts when the cuts could have a broader economic impact as a result of falling incomes to 290,000 homes.

“No company would be allowed by stakeholders to jeopardise their business by proposing cuts that are not supported by a robust and transparent business case and a forecast of the benefit they might bring in the medium to long term,” Kelly said in a statement.

“Unless we see evidence to the contrary, it is our belief that these cuts are being proposed without due care and attention to the possible thousands of jobs they will cost in the private sector,” he said.

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Kelly said UNITE would consider withdrawing from the talks if Public Expenditure minister Brendan Howlin did not provide a breakdown of the proposed macroeconomic effects from cutting pay by €1 billion.

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