Sinn Féin President and Louth TD Gerry Adams has described Croke Park II as “an attack on frontline workers.”
Teachta Adams said: “However the government tries to spin it Croke Park II isn’t a fair deal for frontline workers.
“This agreement, which the government seeks to force workers into accepting under threat of a worse outcome if it legislates, heaps pain on low and middle income workers. It does little more than tinker with excessive pay at the top. Even after the 10% cut to high pay those at the top of the public sector will still earn more than the French President and British Prime Minister.
“Labour - the party of Connolly and Larkin - is attacking workers. It is a Labour minister who has split the trade union movement, torn up the Croke Park Agreement and is now set to force through pay cuts across the public sector.
“Labour has failed to protect those on low and middle incomes, either in the private or public sector.
“Frontline workers have been unfairly targeted. Nurses, gardaí, firefighters, the emergency services deliver a 24/7 service keeping us safe and well. They are the workers who are being hit hardest. Firefighters who lobbied the Oireachtas today believe they will see a real cut of ten per cent.
“These workers have mortgages to pay; children to feed and clothe; school books to buy, and bills to pay. None of their outgoings are going to be cut, just their income.
“Their pay has been significantly reduced over recent years while the cost of living has risen. Far from protecting workers on low and middle incomes the government has aggressively gone after their increments and unsocial hours pay.
“The fact is that frontline workers did not cause this crisis. The Fianna Fáil leadership and the other elites – the golden circle - caused this crisis.
“There are alternatives. The government could have brought in a wealth tax. It could have also introduced a third band of tax on those earning more than €100,000.
“Instead those who will be hit hardest will be the nurses, the fire services, the ambulance services, the gardaí. Nurses in our overcrowded hospitals will work extra hours, lose unsocial hours payments, have reduced Sunday pay and will have increments frozen. They face a pay cut of eight per cent. That means a nurse on €35,000 will lose €2,800.
“That is not fair. The government’s approach is about imposing a higher and disproportionate burden onto those on low and middle incomes.”