Croke Park II… March 5, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
The government’s actions on CPII are, without doubt clever. Cynical but clever. The side deals will come as an unwelcome surprise, and one that may sideline some of the anger that is developing amongst more militant sectors of the unions. And according to the SBP it’s a case of not only, but also…
The government may not implement the full €1 billion savings under Croke Park II if trade unions sign up to the centralised deal.
Senior sources told this newspaper that the government would withhold €130 million in incentives from the €1 billion savings as a “sweetener” to persuade unions to support of the deal.
But if the majority of public service unions in the Irish Congress of Trade Unions vote to reject the deal, then emergency legislation for the full €1 billion in cuts will be introduced.
Someone is thinking through this and working out strategies to corral union memberships and it remains to be seen how effective they are. What is clear is that the overall approach echoes that taken in relation to workers more generally, by dividing them up into sectoral groups and ensuring that unity of response and action is made more difficult. We saw this with the very very deliberate approach of Fianna Fáil in the first part of the crisis to the public and private sector – an approach that was, I would argue, enormously successful in setting the narrative.
So in a sense where is the surprise? Croke Park II has been coming for a very long time. As someone who works amongst PS workers the sentiment was one of resignation rather than a belief that the status quo would be maintained.
And there’s a lot of use of the stick as well…
In a radical departure, militant frontline unions that walked out of the talks could yet face emergency legislation to impose the more punitive cuts to Sunday premium pay originally proposed by the government rather than the enhanced deal. In addition, the compensating measures would not be available to unions outside the deal.
Union sources also said that concessions won by the unions which stayed in the talks – such as the maintenance of the existing 45km limit for redeployment – could be withdrawn from rebel unions. That would leave their members facing redeployment within the government preferred limit of 100km.
But note who is being quoted as a ‘source’ here, those inside the unions. And the SBP suggests that Howlin has had ‘private briefings’ presumably with the unions on the matter.
What’s depressing is that given the lead in time to CP II the unions have from the off been reactive even – perhaps particularly – within the terms they themselves have defined they would engage upon. Or to put it another way, they’re not even any good at carrying through the minimalist approach they cleave to.
In such a context is it any wonder that there’s such a strange combination of passivity and anger?
Still, I’m interested in what people think is the temperature of their workplaces in the PS in relation to CPII.