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Croke Park deal should INCREASE spending, not cut it, says union

UNITE says trying to cut the public pay bill will shrink the economy – so the proposed savings should be invested instead.

UNITE's Jimmy Kelly says cutting public pay will make Ireland's economy contract overall.
UNITE's Jimmy Kelly says cutting public pay will make Ireland's economy contract overall.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

A TRADE UNION has proposed that Ireland’s budget deficit be attacked by spending more money, instead of trying to cut public pay.

UNITE says the government’s plan to cut €300 million from the public pay bill would have virtually no impact on the deficit, because of the amount that households would have to reduce their spending if their income was hit.

Instead, it says, Ireland’s GDP – the benchmark measurement of the size of the economy – would actually shrink, with about 1,500 jobs lost.

The union says the deficit should instead be tackled not by cutting €300 million in spending, but by investing that amount in a ‘special investment programme’ throughout the second half of 2013.

“What UNITE’s research shows is that there is no economic reason to impose these cuts,” said regional secretary Jimmy Kelly.

“They are not necessary to reach the Government’s budget targets. They are optional – and they are the wrong option.”

Kelly said UNITE members – 85 per cent of whom voted against Croke Park 2 in a ballot last month – had rejected the proposals because they knew it would postpone an economic recovery, as well as hitting their own pay and conditions.

Read: Howlin: It’s in personal interests of public workers to accept pay cuts

More: SIPTU boss says temporary tax hikes to high earners could avoid public cuts

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Gavan Reilly

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