Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

I will drive through cuts in wages, warns Taoiseach

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has warned public servants that just as he drove through the pension levy without their agreement, he will do the same with pay cuts if necessary.

It comes as teachers and other public sector workers remain on course to go on a national strike on November 24 in protest at his plans to cut €1.3 billion from their earnings.

At the Ogra Fianna Fail gathering in Bundoran, Mr Cowen said his government would not shirk from its responsibilities in taking the “right course of action” in next month's Budget.

But he did not use a section in his scripted speech which replicated the famous words in the 1980s of another former Fianna Fail leader, Charles Haughey.

The scripted sentences were: “We are living way beyond our means and we must pull back. There is no option to do otherwise.”

Mr Cowen did speak about pushing through the pension levy last March, which has led to an average 6.9% deduction from the wages of the State's 300,000-plus public servants.

“We had to bring forward a pension levy which I tried to get agreement on but, in the absence of agreement, proceeded by coming into the Cabinet the next day and proposing it, and getting it through the house — and that is what we have to do further.”

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