But HSE management and medical consultants acknowledged yesterday that the drastic cost-savings would inevitably impact on patient care.
In Galway yesterday, the regional director of operations for HSE West, John Hennessy, told members of the Regional Health Forum that no hospital in the area from Limerick to Donegal — it has a population of one million — would be exempt from the pruning.
“It would be incorrect of me to say it wouldn’t impact in some way on services . . . you can’t take this level of funding out of the health service without impacting on certain frontline services,” Mr Hennessy said.(more)
CPSU General Secretary Attempts to undermine Union Executive Committee on Croke Park (via Kerry Public Service Workers’ Alliance)
On the 24th of May The Labour Court issued a supplemental recommendation (For Complete Labour Court Adjudication on Frame Work Agreement Click Here) in relation to the Framework Agreement under which staff were transferred from the employment of Health Boards to the HSE
Members of IMPACT were not informed by IMPACT Head Office until May 31
Huge numbers of IMPACT voted without this vital information
The supplemental recommendation by the Labour court has effectively abolished all the main protections for Staff in the Framework Agreement
The second supplemental recommendation of the Labour Court says referring to the Framework Agreement:
Clearly, any implication that the content of the Framework Agreement was “timeless” and would remain unchanged if the Croke Park Agreement were accepted was completely misleading.
There is an unanswerable case for the halting of the current IMPACT ballot and the holding of a new ballot in the context of the second or supplemental Labour Court recommendation.
The Section of the New Impact Vote No Leaflet (posted on this blog) dealing with HSE staff has been proved to be completely correct
It is, of course, true that The Croke Park Deal will over-ride contracts in the Local Authority Service, in the core Civil Service and elsewhere in the public service.
The Labour Court supplemental recommendation in relation to the HSE makes this explicit and definite.
It is regrettable that all IMPACT members were not in possession of this information when voting.
Public Service Union Leaders have Agreed to Outsourcing with scant protection for Public Service Employees
Claims by SIPTU and others to have made Progress on Outsourcing are False.
Public Service Union Leaders have Agreed to Outsourcing with scant protection for Public Service Employees.
Work can be outsourced to any company paying legally enforceable pay rates. Except in a minority of employments where special pay rates apply (eg Joint Labour Committee-JLC Rates), this means that the private sector employer is only required to pay the minimum wage
SIPTU and some other unions are claiming that the phrase “unit hourly pay rates of pay” will not determine the issue, protects public servants.
This is nonsense—READ ON!!!
Extract from “Delivery Service Options” Document
1. Work that may reasonably be considered as small in scale will be dealt with in accordance with normal procedures referred to above.
In the first instance, in respect of an existing service, both sides give a commitment to consult on the development of a service plan. This plan will evaluate the existing in-house service, the outsourcing option, and compare both. As part of the evaluation both parties will consult with a view to agreeing a plan to address the service changes necessary to retain the service in house. In evaluating any proposal to proceed with outsourcing, a number of factors will be taken into account, including overall cost, quality of service, effectiveness, and the public interest. All relevant costs will be included in the evaluation but it will not be determined by unit hourly rates of pay.
Where management decide to proceed with outsourcing, there will be regular consultation with the trade unions throughout the commissioning and procurement process.
Procurement will not result in a worsening of the pay rates, pension and employment conditions of employees remaining in the public service.
In line with the commitments in the public service agreement, there will be no compulsory redundancies in any outsourcing. Both sides will maximise redeployment opportunities.
“All relevant costs will be included in the evaluation but it will
not be determined by unit hourly rates of pay”. Is this good news?
Apparently much play is being made by SIPTU of this sentence as “proof” that employees are protected against the worst effects of outsourcing by this clause.
This is a total misrepresentation
Let us examine what this sentence actually means.
Since all relevant costs will be included in the evaluation for outsourcing, “unit hourly rates of pay” will be a factor, but not the sole determining factor.
No public service employer could operate on the basis that unit hourly rates of pay would be the only determining factor. As point 2 above states “overall cost, quality of service, effectiveness” will also be factors.
If a private sector employer was giving “poor quality of service”, lower hourly pay rates in private sector would be of little value to the public service employer.
On the other hand, the sentence also means that outsourcing can be justified even when unit pay rates in the private sector are higher than in the public sector
In its rejection statement TEEU have strongly made this point.
“Overall cost” includes the cost of continuing to employ permanent public servants though the task is “once off”. The employer would claim that such employees would be “underutilised” on a continuing basis.
Binding Arbitration The document provides for “consultation” but not for negotiation.
Any disagreement between unions and management will be resolved by binding arbitration at the Labour Court. The criteria for the adjudication will be the terms of the Croke Park Deal.
Redundancy “In line with the commitments in the public service agreement, there will be no compulsory redundancies in any outsourcing. Both sides will maximise redeployment opportunities.”
This clause is effectively the same as the “commitment” given in the General Agreement.
Outsourcing will not in itself cause “compulsory redundancy”. But an employee can be made compulsorily redundant if s/he does not agree to be redeployed as a result of outsourcing. In this agreement, Public Service unions have agreed for the first time that permanent public servants can be made compulsorily redundant in certain circumstances.
EARNINGS The commitment that “pay rates” will not be reduced by outsourcing does not protect against reduction of “incomes” or “earnings”. The take home pay of many public servants can be, and has been, drastically reduced while maintaining basic “Pay Rates”
Unions must consult with management with “a view to agreeing a plan to address the service changes necessary to retain the service in house. In the context of the recruitment ban, this can only result in a major increase in workload during the ordinary working day.
Outsourcing applies to all grades including professional grades
In the “clarification” issued by Mulvey/Foley it is stated that outsourcing applies to all parts of the public service– not just to manual and clerical services
Following a good suggestion from Denis O’Boyle who is also a member of the A.S.T.I. Pensions Committee, attached is a one page document with information about public service pensions that can be used to “win the argument,” confront politicians or write reply letters to newspapers when writers criticise us our our pension arrangements. In confronting politicians and others on the issues of public service pay and pensions it is important to have as much information as possible and to use it to counter the relentless “spin” that is being orchestrated by members of political parties in pursuit of their own agenda (note the singular).
Best wishes, and roll on the Summer,
“Clarification of Public Sector Counter reform Deal. Nothing new – A bluff by McLoone & Co”, Terry Kelleher CPSU
The so-called clarifications brought back, primarily by Peter McLoone offer no more insight into the actual details of the deal and reveals everything about the failed strategy of ICTU.
There is no comfort to be got for public sector workers from these clarifications but further confusion about the role of ICTU as they try to force a rotten deal on us.
The facts remain, this deal will ensure that €16b worth of cuts will be implemented and no matter how you dress it up, the public services where we work will be decimated. They will continue to target our jobs, pay, pension rights, our contractual terms & conditions, and most important our rights as trade union members.
Every paragraph covering each “clarified” issue is a painful plea from Government that they will implement these cuts in a “reasonable manner” with our “full participation”. Isn’t that nice.
However the real reason for these clarifications is to help the senior officials of IMPACT. It gives a reason to their central Executive Committee to change their minds and recommend a YES vote and sell the deal to the IMPACT membership.
Such a cynical move is nothing new to many activists but will expose to many more members that they have a leadership who values talking & listening to this Government more that their own membership. A leadership that is prepared to sell the rights of their membership rather than conduct a serious defence of these rights as they said they would on the marches and protests.
What this document of clarification shows is how out of touch ICTU really are with the ordinary member.
For example, on pay they think a wording like “it is the express intention and expectation of Government that here will be no further reduction “ will satisfy public servants fears on pay. They also attempt to play down para 1.28 which allows for further pay cuts;
“The implementation of this Agreement is subject to no currently unforeseen budgetary deterioration”, will be applied in a bona fide manner by the Government side. Similar clauses have applied in previous agreements and it is not envisaged that, on the basis of any currently known facts, that the clause would be utilised”.
This is meaningless and the threat remains, the only way to remove the threat is to remove 1.28 completely.
On pensions -, the government has said they will not implement the change to pensions until after 2014. They intend to move away from the situation where pension’s rises are linked to pay rises, and link them to the rate of inflation.
Under these clarifications they have said they still intend doing this but not until 2014. This is not a victory for the trade unions. The reason the government is doing this is if the Croke park deal is passed there will be a pay freeze until 2014 therefore pensions will also be froze until 2014. Inflation will start to rise over the next period of time. So if the government made the pension change now it would cost them money and the deferral until 2014 is simply a cost saving exercise, not a victory.
A deal at any cost
ICTU are now engulfed in a cold calculated attempt to secure the support of PSEU, SIPTU, IMPACT and INTO, a slim majority vote on the public sector committee. David Begg invisible throughout this episode appears at the PSEU conference to urge a Yes vote.
McLoone refused to accept the decision of the Executive Committee of IMPACT to reject the deal and told them to accept or say nothing.
PSEU leadership refused to accept emergency motions against the deal at their recent conference.
There is huge anger in all the unions which is now shifting towards their so-called leaders and it is becoming clearer to many that we need a new leadership that listens to and is accountable to us the membership .
Ballot on Croke Park Proposals in CPSU
Total turn-out 76%
Vote Against the Deal 67%
Rather bizarrely, the trade union leaders who negotiated the text of the Croke Park deal, found it necessary to go back to the LRC to clarify what exactly they had negotiated. This was after it became plain that they were finding it impossible to sell the proposals to the union membership. How could they have been unclear on such important issues after weeks of behind the scenes contact and days of intensive meetings and after having emerged with a draft agreement that was perfectly understandable to everyone who read it? This should raise immediate suspicions about the purpose and intent of the supposed clarifications, particularly in light of the fact that Peter McLoone, IMPACT General Secretary, the originator of the idea of ‘public service transformation’ and chief negotiator on the union side, found himself unable to sell the proposals to the IMPACT Executive. It was immediately then that the clarification idea emerged.
The main clarification text entitled DRAFT PUBLIC SECTOR AGREEMENT 2010-2014 CLARIFICATION (06-05-10) is analysed point by point below. There are other clarifications for specific sectors. Anything they say must be read in light of what the main text says and must be subjected to the same level of critique.
The Issue of trust.
First and foremost, the clarifications depend entirely on the Government being worthy of trust. There is absolutely no reason to trust this government. It broke its word before when it reneged completely on the Toward 2116 deal. It will do the same again if that suits it. The unions by accepting such a deal will demonstrate that there is no willingness to protect Public Servants, so the Government will conclude as it has done on every occasion up to now that it has nothing to fear from them. Only a trade union movement that is a threat has to be treated honourably. So what then do the clarifications actually say? Quotes from the clarification text are in italics below. They are accompanied by appropriate commentary.
Will there be further pay cuts?
“It is the expressed intention and expectation of the Government that there will be no further reductions in the remuneration of employees…… subject to compliance with the terms of the Draft Agreement.”
Nothing has changed there. If the Government can cut pay and public servant numbers sufficiently through the ‘agreement’, it will not need to cut pay outside the agreement.
What of the Government ‘let-out’ clause?
The idea of all bets being off if there is “unforeseen budgetary deterioration…..will be applied in a bona fide manner by the Government side….” is hardly a clarification. What else would a Government say… that it is going to implement the proposals in a “dishonourable and deceitful manner?” That is just waffle.
“Similar clauses have applied in previous agreements………” When, where and who knew about them? The statement that “…it is not envisaged that, on the basis of any currently known facts, that the clause would be utilised,” is the definition of the word “unforeseen.” If those facts were known, then they would not be “unforeseen.” This kind of language demonstrates the duplicity of the whole “clarification” process.
“It is confirmed that, in the event that such a situation was to arise [Government deciding to renege on its commitments], the parties would meet at central level (i.e. Government/ICTU) to discuss the circumstances that had arisen …..”
That, in the event that the Government does see fit to renege on the deal (as it did before with T16), the Government and ICTU would meet, is hardly much reassurance. The meetings between the Government and ICTU have up to now led to the pension levy, the pay cuts and the present sell out on pay and conditions of service. Why would anyone believe that there is some kind of protection in meetings between the Government and ICTU? Every time they meet, public servants are further sold down the river.
“The Unions have made it clear that in the event of the Government invoking that provision [to renege on the deal] the unions will cease to be bound by the terms of the Draft Agreement.” It beggars belief that this is included as a clarification. What would unions do? Abide by the agreement while the Government throws it in the bin? The more worrying issue is that all the relocations, redundancies (see below) and general destruction of conditions of service will prove impossible to reverse, once in place, irrespective of what the Government does. Again, this illustrates how the ‘Clarification’ document is nothing but a piece of badly constructed propaganda.
Will the pay cuts be reversed?
It is evident that there is no promise at all on pay restoration – quite the opposite a five year pay freeze is guaranteed. “Savings generated from the implementation of the Agreement and the agreements in each of the sectors will be used, in a manner to be agreed between the parties, to commence the process of addressing the effect on pay rates……” This is no promise at all. Firstly the Government has to agree and, with such weakened and redundant trade unions, it will do as it pleases. Secondly, it is only a promise to “begin addressing the effect on pay rates……. and reducing the effect of the pension levy.” If there was any serious intent to reverse the pay cuts and the pension levy, then that would be unequivocally stated. ‘Beginning to address the pay cuts,’ could mean anything or nothing.
Will there be compulsory redundancies?
Of course the proposals did not include a provision for compulsory redundancies. Everyone knew that already. The redundancies will arise when individuals are forced to redeploy to another job elsewhere in the country and when they cannot move house or when the jobs offered are completely unacceptable to them. They will then be deemed to have resigned. This will not be called redundancy. The clarification makes it clear that the intention is the same. “The Government have made this commitment on the basis that the redeployment arrangements in the Draft Agreement are utilised as an alternative to redundancy where staff have become surplus…….” Of course there will be no need for use of the redundancy word when the ‘redeployment’ word sounds better and does the same thing as is stated in black and white in the clarification.
Will public servants be redeployed anywhere in the country?
The only clarification that would be of any value here is a clear statement on how far away from their current jobs, public servants will be relocated to. Nothing of the kind exists in the clarification. The 45k limit, regularly repeated in the press and in union documents, is a complete fiction. If any such limit were intended, it would have been stated in this clarification document. It isn’t there! There is no such limit – no limit at all. Once again, you find a ‘trust us – we are reasonable people’ demand. Redeployment “will be operated in a reasonable manner and with due regard for the personal circumstances of public servants. There will not be serial or multiple redeployments and the work location from which the first location is proposed/home address of staff will be used to determine the radius for any redeployment.”
“A reasonable manner, due regard for circumstances, used to determine;” in short, no protections at all. The Government will decide (and of course the arbitration process will do its bidding as will the unions that are selling this deal) what is reasonable and how they will determine where anyone is to be relocated to. If there was intended to be any genuine protection here, a specific maximum distance of relocation would be stated. It isn’t. There is no protection.
Are pensions to be cut?
There will be “no change in the current arrangements for the indexation of pensions for current public service pensioners and serving public servants…….during the period of the Agreement.”
The current indexation arrangements are that pensions increase in line with the pay of the grade. Since it is part of the agreement that there will be no pay increases and pay has already been decreased to a great extent, why would the government want this arrangement to change? The alternative, that pay would be indexed to the cost of living, could result over the next four years in income increases for pensioners. The clarification just reminds us all that the Government has got its way and will continue to do so. No pay increases and no pension increases, no matter what kind of recovery happens in the economy and no matter how much semi state and private sector pay increases.
As for the pensions of future public servants, the changes there will be determined by a “separate process….independent of the terms of the draft agreement.” In other words, pensions for future public servants will be drastically reduced if the Government gets its way – which it certainly will if the current union leaders are still in place – whether the Croke Park proposals are rejected or accepted. It follows, then, that the only way to protect future pensions and, by so doing, to protect the future of the public services as a desirable career choice in Ireland is to stop the union leaders from selling out the future. They can only be stopped if the Croke Park sell-out is rejected and the current collaborationist trade union leadership is replaced by one that will fight to protect the public services.
Will public services continue to be axed?
Yes. “The Government has confirmed that its policy on staff numbers in the Public Service is a matter which is independent of the Draft Public Service Agreement.”
The government has made no secret of the fact that it plans to drastically reduce the number of public servants. The OECD made clear in its analysis before any of the current cuts began that the number of public servants in Ireland and the size of the public service were small for a country of our wealth and population. The sole and only way to further cut numbers is to cut services to the public. Talk of efficiencies is just a smokescreen. If the Danes, the Dutch, The Germans, the French and the British cannot deliver good services with so few public servants, then the Irish can’t do so either. The objective of course is precisely that – not to be like other European countries – but to emulate the United States. Lets those who cannot afford to buy services such as health, education, housing and so on, simply do without. The plan is to create a permanent poverty stricken underclass so as to ensure that the wealthy do not have to pay their fair share of tax and that the already extreme poverty-wealth gap is widened and imbedded forever in the structure of Irish society.
On ‘Outsourcing,’ the clarification document states: “The Appendix dealing with Service Delivery Options (outsourcing) has general application across the public service.” In other words, no area will be spared. There will be a shift from public service provision to private sector provision everywhere right across the system. That is a shift from traditionally secure, reasonably paid, unionised employment to minimum wage, insecure, non unionised exploitative employment. Small wonder this clarification is so brief and includes no explanation or commentary at all.
Nothing in the clarifications alters in any way the plan to destroy and privatise the public services in Ireland. They simply reiterate that such is the plan.
The clarifications mean nothing. The process is just a cynical propaganda ploy orchestrated by trade union leaders, the LRC and the Government to trick public servants into voting the way they want them to vote – for the Croke Park proposals. This is just the latest episode in the sorry tale of treachery by our union leaders who long ago ideologically joined the right wing elite in Ireland. The real objective of the right wing elite, in control of big business, government and trade unions, vis a vis the public services, is not so much to balance the books without raising taxes. Certainly, they wish to achieve that but the real objective is of a much more fundamental and longer term character.
The plan is to use the smokescreen of a supposed economic crisis to alter the social structure of Irish society. It is to give reality to Mary Harney’s claim that Ireland was closer to Boston than Berlin. It is envisaged that we will have an Ireland where there are huge gaps between the rewards for capital and those for labour, huge gaps between rewards for elite employees and for the ordinary worker, where there is little tax on wealth, little in the way of public services, where the majority struggle while the elite bask in wealth and luxury and where there is a permanent underclass of hereditary poor. That is a precise description of the United States. That is the plan for Ireland. Everything else is propaganda and smokescreen.
Union leaders, through “clarification” have now opened the way to the devastation of Public Service Pensions over the next 4 years as many experienced commentators predict hyper inflation in the Euro-Zone
Sunday Business Post to-day quotes informed sources as saying that the change contained in the clarification will save the exchequer 600 million Euro over the next 4 years.This is 600 million to be taken out of the pockets of public service pensioners.
I call on Jack O’Connor and Peter McLoone to call an immediate meeting of the Public Services Committee of ICTU and to recommend immediate withdrawal from the Croke Park Agreement.
No person, including the proverbial seller of an ass at a fair would be fooled, by the tissue of deception set out in the “clarification”. The pension section of the clarification means that there will be no increase in public sector pensions in the next 4 years even if inflation takes off. This is much worse than the indexation to consumer price index indicated in the original Proposals. Since The original Proposals include a pay freeze for the next 4 years, the practice of equal pension increases to the pay increases of serving peer would not have applied in any event. The clarification means that public servants will not even get the indexation to the consumer price index which is common in private sector pensions!!!
Employment Control Framework Seriously Damages Careers of Female Lecturers and Researchers, IFUT ADC 24th April
The following two motions were passed at the Annual Delegate Congress of the Irish Federation of University Teachers, held yesterday
They deal with the “the serious damage being done predominantly to
the careers of female lecturing and research staff” by the application of the moratorium on staffing in the area of third level education.
In the Public Service Agreement, ICTU negotiators explicitly accepted the moratorium. No safeguards were inserted to protect those vulnerable to unequal treatment.
There are examples of such unequal treatment elsewhere in the public service
National Public Service Alliance would welcome details of such abuses
In addition Science Foundation Irealand (SFI) has cancelled the special allowance (eligible leave supplement) used to pay substitutes for professional research staff on maternity leave.
While 50% of SFI professional research Staff are women only 11% have reached the higher grade of Principal Investigator (PI).
(1)Damage to Careers of Female Lecturing & Research Staff
This ADC strongly rejects the continuing policy of non replacement of
staff on maternity leave, adoptive leave and sick leave as well as the retraction
of SFI’s eligible leave supplement for same. We call strongly for the
government to recognise the serious damage being done predominantly to
the careers of female lecturing and research staff.
(2) Substitute Cover for Maternity Leave
ADC demands that the substitute cover for maternity leave is made statutory for the Irish university sector thus allowing women participate on an equal basis as men within this sector.