Belfast Telegraph

Public workers warned about cuts

Public servants have been warned to up their game - despite job and pay cuts and reductions in waste that have saved 682 million euro in the last year.

The public wage bill has come down by 289 million euro due to almost 5,400 staff cuts while another 308 million euro was clawed back in administrative reforms.

But despite the glowing report card, Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin warned civil servants of more pain.

"In view of the severe fiscal constraints we face, the reality is that further significant cuts in expenditure, coupled with further substantial reductions in the numbers employed in the public service, are unavoidable," Mr Howlin said.

The pay and reform deal was thrashed out last March after weeks of intense negotiations between Government and unions. It promised not to hit state employees with any more pay cuts until 2014 if extensive reforms in work practices were implemented.

Mr Howlin warned government staff that more was needed from them under the Croke Park deal to bring about urgent reform of the public sector.

"We need to move forward quickly to build on the important progress that has been achieved to date and accelerate the delivery and implementation of urgently needed reform," he said. "I look forward to a heightened level of effort and engagement from both public service management and unions in the coming months."

The Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 provided for an annual report focusing on the savings generated from the deal brokered in March last year.

The Implementation Body, set up by the previous government to monitor the progress of the deal, revealed that 289 million euro was saved from the public pay bill after 5,349 staff left, overtime was cut and work practices reformed.

Non-pay related savings topped 308 million euro and were achieved through better use of resources, reducing the cost of buying goods and services and changing the way services are delivered. Public bodies also came up with new initiatives avoiding costs of 85.7 million euro.

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