12
Mar
13

Open Letter to members of IMPACT – on Croke Park 2

The following is the text of a leaflet being distributed by a number of IMPACT activists, including myself, in Cork.

 

WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE NO TO CROKE PARK 2

The new Croke Park deal is a vicious attack on the pay and conditions of all Public Sector workers and their families by the Government. Shamefully our Trade Union leaders have allowed it to tear up an existing agreement that was due to run until June 2014 and have agreed to another one, which is significantly worse.

IMPACT and SIPTU negotiators have collaborated with the Government to suggest new ways of cutting public service pay. Public sector workers have already suffered huge cuts in direct pay cuts, tax increases and erosion of sick pay entitlements as part of the overall austerity imposed on us in order to pay off the debts of our banks. This deal offers more of the same including a continuation of a recruitment embargo, despite 30,000 workers having already left the Public Service.

REASONS TO VOTE NO

A Pay and Increments Freeze. Inflation is currently running at 2 percent but pay is frozen for three more years. Workers are also being denied increment increases. It is another pay cut on top of the average 14% pay cut public sector workers have already taken.

Six days less holidays for some workers. Workers at the top of their pay scale (between €35k & €65k p.a.) must accept a cut in holidays – or accept another pay cut.

Extra hours – a pay cut by another name. Trade unions normally try to reduce the working week but the Impact leadership want us to work longer. Many workers who achieved a 34 or 35 hour week will have to do 37 hours; others will be forced to work 39 hours. This is the same as a 6% pay cut.

Unpaid overtime. Workers on a 39 hour week will have to give an hour’s overtime for free. That represents a pay cut for tens of thousands of council staff who sometimes rely on overtime because of lower pay.

Cuts to overtime rate. Workers long ago won the right to be paid time and a half for overtime. Now it is reduced to time and a quarter.

Direct pay cuts for those over €65,000. The original Croke Park deal was meant to protect pay but this was another lie.

Restrictions on Work-sharing and Flexi-time. The new deal is an attack on families and women juggling home and work and who will now face increased childcare costs as a result of longer working hours. Further restrictions to flexi-time and work-sharing will force many parents of young families into acceptance of voluntary redundancy. Croke Park 2 acknowledges this implicitly in section 2.11.

Forced Redundancy? This deal explicitly leaves open the possibility of forced redundancy for the first time by stating that the “Business needs of the Organisation” would make for “circumstances where voluntary redundancy is appropriate”.

Is this the last attack on our pay and conditions as Minister Howlin states?

Section 1.13 and 1.14 deals with the “Review of this Agreement” and the possibility of revisiting the commitments or assumptions within it which of course gives the Government a get-out clause to come back for more in similar fashion to which they have already done.

The Impact leadership keep insisting that the Government intends to legislate anyway if an agreement is not reached but they have played this game for the past four years. They justify every retreat by saying that if we do not accept it the alternative is much worse. All this does is encourage the Government to seek more by making a big enough threat. If it was this simple to legislate why do they need the agreement of Trade Unions? Having to pass legislation will force Labour TD’s who campaigned to protect Public Servants pay to explain why they are now doing the opposite. The reality is that our co-operation with these cuts is necessary to maintain the illusion that austerity is working.

This Government is terrified that workers will take collective action, contrary to what we hear from the trade union leaderships. There are alternatives.

We are not powerless.

We therefore have to stop the retreat or else we will face further cuts in the near future. A network of activists across Impact that is organised to defeat this deal can be the start of a campaign to take back our Union and turn it into something that really protect member’s interests.

VOTE NO TO CROKE PARK 2

This leaflet is produced by IMPACT members in local authorities and health services in a personal capacity. Please distribute this letter to your colleagues.

Jane Power, IMPACT member, Cork City Council
Donal Guerin, IMPACT member, Cork City Council
Anthony Hetherington, IMPACT member, HSE.
Alan Gibson, IMPACT member, NCRI
Michael O’Sullivan, IMPACT member, Cork County Council

 

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3 Responses to “Open Letter to members of IMPACT – on Croke Park 2”


  1. 1 C. G. Williams
    March 21, 2013 at 20:58

    Well done so many members of IMPACT and SIPTU are sleep walking into accepting this agreement. It good to see some are fighting back on behalf of the general membership of those unions.

    • March 21, 2013 at 21:30

      Our little group who put out the Open Letter leaflet attended the two meeting in Cork on Wednesday evening – one at 5:30 and one at 7:30.

      I was at the second, about 35 people, and the mood was more against than for. Apparently it was a closer split in the first meeting, about 80 people. Certainly the top table got a lot more rocky ride than they expected in both meetings.

      Our leaflet was well received with a few taking bundles to distribute to their workmates. We also got a good response to this when we leafleted the City and County council main work sites on the previous Thursday and this morning.

      Of course we are only a few and can’t match IMPACT’s massive propaganda machine so I am not sure that this mood will be reflected across the wider IMPACT membership but still it has given me cause for a little bit of cautious optimism.

  2. March 24, 2013 at 22:49

    It should also be pointed out that, it is not a three year “agreement” as it claims. It is open ended – it says several forms of payment will be eliminated (not frozen or suspended); it does not say when, how or if increments will be unfrozen. It is a continuation of an ongoing process with no end in sight. If you don’t oppose it you will be submitting to the destruction of your pay and conditions. and giving up your last chance to save them.


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