Six Points in Croke Park
As talks for a new Deal begin here are a half-dozen things you probably know about the Croke Park Deal that should stop the unions extending it.
1. The Croke Park Deal seems to set up a conflict between pay and job security, on the one hand, and services to the public and the needy on the other. (Of course the real conflict is between pay, job security and services on the one hand and the billions given to the banks on the other. Nevertheless this does not stop the media head fixers from using the structure of the Croke Park Deal to pitch services against pay, job security and conditions. The alternative is for the unions to fight against cuts in services and jobs, wages and conditions.)
2. The Croke Park Deal seems to accept cuts in services in return for a jobs and pay guarantee. (This impression is reinforced by the lack of union resistance to the cuts and, indeed by point 3 below).
3. The Croke Park Deal facilitates the cuts in services through co-operation with restructuring and transferring to cover for the reduced staffing.
4. The Croke Park Deal agrees to massive reductions in (decent and unionised) jobs at the very time when every job is needed and in contradiction to the trade union policy of state-led investment in growth and jobs. (“Public Service Numbers are now [September 2012] 28,000 lower (at 292,000 approx) than their peak (of 320,000 approx) at end 2008”(Progress on the implementation of the Government’s Public Service Reform Plan, 6th September 2012]).
5. The Croke Park Deal has not prevented or restored cuts in remuneration to public service workers and has led to worsened conditions through extra work, stress and pressure. (This while the “Exchequer pay bill has been reduced by 17.7% between 2009 and 2012, from €17.5bn (Gross) to €14.4bn (net of the Pension Related Deduction)” and “over the period 2009 to 2015, the Exchequer pay bill is expected to reduce by €3.8bn, or €3.3bn net of expected increases in public service pensions costs” [Progress on the implementation of the Government’s Public Service Reform Plan, 6th September 2012]. And now the Government wants to make further savings of €1 billion on its pay and pensions bill over the next three years.)
6. The Croke Park Deal seems to allow cuts in basic pay for new entrants in return for guarantees for serving workers. (This impression is reinforced by the passive acceptance in many cases of new lower starting rates. Again it allows the media head fixers to pitch new, young workers against already serving workers, blaming existing workers for the rip-off of new entrants. The alternative is the traditional trade union insistence on protecting the basic rate for all.)