12
Apr
13

IMPACT Sligo branch on why they are saying No to CP2

Dear Colleagues

At the Sligo Branch meeting on Monday 4th March the Committee, have taken a unanimous decision to recommend to our Members a “NO” vote.

The merits of the proposed deal and the negative effect it will have on our Members and their families have been discussed and debated at length. It is the Committees view that a “YES” vote would not be in the Members best interests and consequently we are left with no alternative but to recommend to our members a “NO” Vote.

Ultimately, it is a matter for each member to decide how to vote. We ask that you consider fully the proposed Agreement and how its contents impact on YOU.

The original Croke Park Agreement called on Public and Civil Servants to deliver savings to an ailing economy that was not of their making. The new proposal once again demands that Public and Civil Servants and their families take further pain and hardship. Members have already experienced very serious financial cuts, deterioration to their Terms and Conditions of Employment under the original Croke Park Agreement and the Financial Emergency Measures that the current and previous Government has imposed on them. All of this and yet still the Government comes calling to Public Sector Workers to give up what little means they have left.  The Croke Park Agreement was due to expire at the end of March 2014. The new “Croke Park Extension” proposal brings the original expiry date forward by nine months.

As well as the aforementioned, Public Sector workers have already suffered huge financial reductions by means of tax increases, cuts in child benefit and cost of living increases, all to pay off the debts of our banks and greedy property developers. This deal offers more of the same including a continuation of a recruitment embargo, despite 30,000 workers having already left the Public Service.

A summary of what you are being asked to give up under the new proposals:

* A Pay and Increments Freeze. Inflation is currently running at 2% 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 €35,000 & €65,000 p.a.) must accept a cut in holidays – or accept another pay cut.

* Extra hours – a pay cut by another name averaging 11% in your hourly rate. Many workers who currently work a 33 or 35 hour week will have to do 37 hours; others will be forced to work 39 hours. Are you aware that a Line Manager can bank the additional hours you have to work and also decide how these hours are worked not you and these hours can be requested to be worked on a Saturday. The ultimate goal of the government is for All Public Servants to work a 39 hour week.

* Unpaid overtime. Workers on a 39 hour week will have to give an hours overtime for free which is a pay cut for our members 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. Sunday premium from double pay to time and three quarters and the abolishment of twilight premiums 6 – 8 p.m. 

* Direct pay cuts for those over €65,000. The original Croke Park deal was meant to protect pay but this was another lie. All members earning over €65,000 will have a percentage of their pay cut depending on their earnings.

* 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 potentially face increased childcare costs as a result of longer working hours. This will also have an impact on those caring for a parent. 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?
Sections 1.13 and 1.14 deal with the “Review of this Agreement” and the possibility of revisiting the commitments or assumptions within it. Essentially this gives the Government license to revoke on the terms of the new proposals and to impose further cuts if they deem it necessary.

The Government has unashamedly stated that if the Proposals are not accepted then they will legislate anyway. An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, clearly stated prior to the talks that the decision to Extend the Croke Park Agreement is ‘solely political’. The Minister for Public Expenditure, Brendan Howlin, after the talks concluded Public Servants need ‘to suck it up’. Such threats and distasteful remarks are unwarranted and inappropriate. 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.

The Government have played this game for the past four years. It is time for All Impact members to show solidarity in these difficult times and to show this Government that Members have given their all and simply cannot give anymore. The previous and the current Governments have enjoyed Industrial peace for many years now through Social Partnership Agreements. This Government alone has reversed much of what was achieved in that time but Public Sector Workers cannot take back what they have given to Industrial peace.

I trust the above points assist you in understanding why the Sligo Branch have taken the decision to recommend to our Members a ‘No’ vote.

Fraternally

Pat Fallon                                                                Sinead Costello

Chairperson                                                            Secretary

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