“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 .