Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

New pay cut rules passed into law

Brendan Howlin says accepting the deal is the only way to avoid compulsory redundancies

New laws allowing the Government to cut public sector workers' pay without their agreement have been published.

The legislation was unveiled to coincide with the publication of the revised deal struck with union leaders to slash 300 million euro of the state payroll.

Should rank-and-file workers reject the plan from the Labour Relations Commission - a revised version of the overwhelmingly rejected Croke Park II - the Government will use the new laws to impose unilateral pay cuts across the public sector.

"Legislation is necessary regardless of whether the proposed reductions are the subject of agreement with the public service unions and associations," said a spokesman for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

"The legislation also confirms the Government's ability to make the necessary savings should collective agreements not be reached with the unions, by setting out a number of contingency measures."

The Government hopes full agreement with all the unions can be reached over the proposals, which include pay cuts of up to 10% for public servants earning more than 65,000 euro and cuts to pensions.

Some of the other measures in the revised package include nurses working longer hours, teachers losing supervision and substitution payments and a series of increment freezes.

More than 20 unions and organisations representing public servants, including frontline workers, now have to go back to members to reject or accept the draft proposals, with some expected to re-ballot workers.

If they refuse to back the agreement, the new legislation enables the Government to impose cuts regardless.

Earlier this week, public servants were warned they face compulsory redundancies unless they accept the deal. Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said accepting the deal was the only way to guarantee workers would not be forced from their jobs.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz