Public Service Unions Must Withdraw from Talks January 26, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
From Paddy Healy , Convener National Public Service Alliance
Pay cut for All through increased Pension Contributions Demanded by Government as AGSI withdraws from talks
The Association of Garda Sergeants and Superintendents(AGSI) have withdrawn from the Pay Talks (Croke Park Extension)
GS John Redmond said the talks were only to decide what form the pay reduction would take and they would not be returning. He also said that “an increase in pension contributions was demanded by government” It is being speculated that the Garda Representative Association (GRA) may withdraw from the talks at its executive meeting next Wednesday. AGSI and GRA are precluded by law from affiliating to ICTU.
Meanwhile the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation(INMO) is conducting a vigorous campaign to prevent pay cuts for new entrants. They are conducting a very successful campaign asking graduate nurses to boycott the jobs. This campaign should be supported in other unions and trades councils and by lobbying Labour TDs. The teaching unions, on the other hand have allowed disgraceful reductions in the pay of new entrants to the profession.
STOP THE NEW SURRENDER NOW!
Rank and file members of trade unions and trade union activists must act now to prevent a new surrender by union leaders. Special meetings of union branches must be called and motions calling on the union leaderships to leave the talks should be tabled. Similar motions should be tabled at national executive meetings. The motion should also direct union leaders to propose and vote to leave the talks at the next meeting of the meeting of the Public Services Committee of ICTU. This is necessary because a few union leaderships are afraid to leave the talks because they fear that if they do so that the brunt of the cuts will be dumped disproportionately on their union members by other unions. This is an indication the level to which some leaderships have sunk in the centenary year of the 1913 lock-out. “An injury to one is the concern of all” has been long forgotten at the summit of Irish trade unions!
All the demands being made by government are very serious. I want to comment on one of them here because it would, in effect, reduce the pay of all public servants if conceded. That is the demand for an increase in pension contributions.
All public servants are now paying a pension levy. Unbelievably, government has refused to recognise this as a pension contribution. Brendan Howlin said so in the Dail when he introduced the bill to shred the pensions of new entrants. (there was no opposition by ICTU to this measure). As quite rightly there is no separate pension fund in the public service, pension contributions and pension levy are going into the same “fund”-the national exchequer. Yet government is now demanding even more!
This new demand by Government is a device to circumvent the prohibition on further pay cuts during the period of the existing Croke Park Deal. It is vital that union leaders be prevented from collaborating with this new piece of “choreography”
I repeat: These talks will lead to serious new income reductions for public servants. These will then be “knocked-on” to private sector workers as part of the underlying government policy of an “internal devaluation” in which pay and benefits are reduced while the assets of the very rich remain untouched!
Remember: In a reply to a parliamentary question, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan admitted that the top 10,000 income units (individuals or jointly taxed couple) had a total income of 5.95 billion and an average income of 595,000 each. Almost all these are in the private sector.
Why doesn’t FG/Labour take a billion off them. After all they would only be left with “only” 495,000 each instead of attacking public service pay?