Home > Croke Park Deal > The Clarification of Public Service Proposals is a tissue of deception

The Clarification of Public Service Proposals is a tissue of deception

General clarification of Public Service Proposals-a detailed analysis

Headlines


PAY—The early changes in conditions of service under the Proposals are essentially irreversible, as is well known to the ICTU leaders, and government can avoid any repayment by later invoking the escape clause after they have been implemented.

Pensions–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

Moratorium--The presence of ICTU at the negotiating table and its failure to demand removal of a moratorium which breaks all existing staffing agreements is proof that ICTU accepts the moratorium. The clarification on the moratorium is merely fancy footwork on both sides of the table.”

Detail


General Clarification of Public Service Proposals

The above is merely the usual misleading “spin” by those who have a vested interest in selling the Proposals-government, ICTU leaders and Mulvey/Foley of the LRC.
For example, 2000 nursing posts , thousands of teaching and lecturing posts and many other necessary public service posts have already been eliminated under the staffing embargo. Public services have already been seriously damaged by the moratorium which is explicitly accepted by ICTU as part of the proposals. This is presented above as: “The overarching intent of the negotiators—-was to enhance—-the protection of public services for its citizens in terms of the resources available” Bearing in mind that both parties have accepted that the assets and incomes of the super rich cannot be seriously taxed to maintain public services, this statement constitutes disgusting hypocrisy.

Pay


The above clarification is so replete with conditionalities and escape mechanisms for government that it amounts to no more than a promise from a government which has unilaterally breached almost all existing agreements including T2016 in the recent past.
The statement by the union side that it will cease to be bound by the terms of the agreement if the government invokes “unforeseen budgetary deterioration” to avoid pay restoration, is deeply cynical.
The first review date but not necessarily the first payment date is Spring 2011. Clauses in sectoral agreements such as contract revision and redeployment come into effect at much earlier dates. Thousands of additional posts will have been eliminated before any proposed payment date is reached. Huge damage to conditions of service and public service provision will have been inflicted before government needs to invoke the escape clause.
These early changes in conditions of service are essentially irreversible as is well known to the ICTU leaders and government can avoid any repayment by later invoking the escape clause after they have been implemented.

REDUNDANCY

This “clarification” confirms that for the first time the Public Services Committee of ICTU has generally agreed that there are circumstances in which public servants can be made compulsorily redundant. Above all, agreement to redeployment, even to a post outside of current profession or occupation, may be required in order to avoid redundancy as clarified above.
Those of us who regularly negotiate with government or government agencies in recent times know what value to place on government confirmation that redeployment “will be operated in a reasonable manner”. The criteria for reasonableness by government has dramatically changed. The above clarification constitutes merely soothing and deceptive words.

Pensions and Moratorium on Staffing

No person, including the proverbial seller of an ass at a fair would be fooled, by the tissue of deception set out above. The pension section above means that there will be no increase in public sector pensions in the next 4 years even if inflation takes off. This is arguably 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!!!
Union leaders 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.

Moratorium
The clarification confirms that the Proposals are in the context of the continuation of the moratorium on staffing at the discretion of the government.
The statement that the government has confirmed that the moratorium on staffing is independent of the Public Service proposals has at least two functions. Firstly, it means that if the Proposal are rejected or if the Agreement breaks down later, the Government will continue with the elimination of staff. This process will be unaffected by the invocation of the “unforeseen budgetary deterioration” to avoid pay restoration followed by the breakdown of the agreement.
The second function of the confirmation is more subtle. It enables ICTU leaders to claim technically that they have not explicitly accepted the moratorium. Presumably, they hope through this device to regain some credibility to help them sell the Proposals.
The “Elephant in the ROOM” throughout the public service is the moratorium under which thousands of non-permanent staff have already been dismissed and thousands of posts have been eliminated. The function of the Proposals is to coerce remaining staff to carry out the extra work.
The presence of ICTU at the negotiating table and its failure to demand removal of a moratorium which breaks all existing staffing agreements is proof that ICTU accepts the moratorium. The above clarification on the moratorium is merely fancy footwork on both sides of the table.

Dispute Resolution

This clarification confirms that all disputes will be subject to binding arbitration, in “fast-track” arrangement but avoids using the words.
This means that all the proposed changes in the Proposals can be imposed on employees against their wishes.

OUTSOURCING

As the appendix on outsourcing did not exclude any grade of staff, experienced industrial relations practitioners will not be surprised by the clarification. However it may have the beneficial effect of dispelling a widely held erroneous view. Many professional employees think that outsourcing applies only to manual and clerical staff functions.
Mulvey has confirmed that it applies to all functions in the public service

This means that teaching, lecturing, medical care (even surgery), social worker duties etc can be outsourced
Already myself and my colleagues in the Institute of Technology sector, through TUI, have successfully resisted the outsourcing of Music and Language teaching. This agreement would make such resistance totally impossible
The principle inherent in the outsourcing proposals is that internal staff should compete for the work with outside providers.
Not surprisingly, the proposals preclude state services outsourcing to employers who are acting illegally by denying employees the minimum wage or other legally enforceable pay rates (Joint Labour Committee-JLC rates, inter alia)
But crucially the criteria for outsourcing to which ICTU agreed does not include the requirement that staff in external provider be unionised. ICTU has placed a vicious new engine in the hands of public sector employers to reduce public service pay.

Paddy Healy 086-4183732
Chair National Public Services Alliance
School of Physics
DIT

General Clarification of Public Service Proposals PDF Document for Download Click Here

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