On the surface it looks like the talks for an extension of the Croke Park deal are in troubled waters. With the walk out of the Garda rank and file association and the nurses trade union threatening to walk with the 24 / 7 frontline alliance.
Also IMPACT telling their members there will be no deal based on what is on the table now. Many trade union activists will be asking themselves how real these signs are. Remember we have seen such sabre rattling before by the trade union leadership as a prelude to selling their memberships rotten deals. Despite the real difficulties of selling €1 billion in extra cuts to public sector workers, the main leaders of the public sector trade unions will be determined to cobble together a deal.
The Croke Park deal has been re-opened by the government to seek a further €1 billion in cuts as part of the austerity strategy which is fuelling the present economic crisis. Croke Park by its very nature was indirectly going to make the government’s finances worse by depressing the domestic market. An extension to Croke Park will do the same and must be opposed for this reason and to protect the jobs, pay and conditions of public sector workers.
This will not stop the public services committee of ICTU trying to sell another austerity deal to public servants. The bones of a deal are probably already agreed. Thousands more jobs are to go and a longer working week with no extra pay will be forced on remaining staff. Outsourcing of core services will be handed over to the private sector to run for profit not need. Also “reform” of the workplace, extra flexibility (meaning less flexi-time for staff), increased workloads and undermining of the trade union influence.
This deal will also see an attack on overtime payments, allowances and all “non-core” pay. It should be noted that the Croke Park deal stated that the government would not cut pay, the word “core” was added only recently. This has enraged section of the public service that rely on such payments, garda, nurse, prison officers and teachers. The 24/7 alliance of frontline services lead by the nurses trade union are totally oppose to changes to these payments.
Public sector workers will most likely be threatened with a 7% pay cut if they do not accept it. There will be unions like the CPSU, Unite and possible others who will oppose such a sell-out and it is imperative that an open alliance is formed to campaign within the public sector trade unions to defeat another deal.
Austerity has failed and public sector workers should vote to reject a new Croke Park deal. It is simple. If you accept a new deal the €1 billion in cuts will further undermine the economy. You and your family will also suffer directly as a new deal will hit your wage packet and working conditions. There is nothing to be gained by accepting a new deal. If the government try to impose a pay cut then the unions must take them on and organise industrial action. The alternative is for years of more austerity, pay cuts and job losses.