Back off frontline workers – Adams
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD today challenged the Taoiseach on the government’s efforts to force frontline workers to acquiesce to substantial cuts in wages and in their terms and conditions of employment.
Speaking during Leaders Questions the Sinn Féin leader demanded that the Government “back off frontline workers and start looking to the top of the public sector to reduce the pay and pension bill.”
Teachta Adams said:
“From the outset of negotiations on a successor to the Croke Park agreement, the government has warned of compulsory redundancies in the public sector. It then warned of pay cuts.
“Low and middle income public sector workers have seen their pay significantly reduced between pay cuts and the Fianna Fáil pension levy.
“There are now two and sometimes three tiers of pay for workers doing exactly the same job. This is the kind of inequity the government is imposing across the public service.
“Public sector workers are generally working harder, longer and for less money – particularly those at the frontline who have seen their numbers depleted over the last two years.
“By contrast those at the top have been protected. Bonanza pay and pensions remain in place. And the government still breaks the pay cap for its special advisors.
“The government needs to back off frontline workers and start looking to the top of the public sector to reduce the pay and pension bill.
“It needs to stop disproportionately targeting frontline workers who have already contributed so much for more cuts and move to tackle the gold plated pensions and high pay still enjoyed by current and former Taoisigh, Ministers, Office Holders and senior civil servants.
“Attacking pay from the bottom up is not a reforming measure. It’s a soft option.
“Senior managers and office holders including the Taoiseach are paid more than their European counterparts. On taking up the French Presidency Francois Holland cut his own pay by 30%. On entering government the Taoiseach reduced his salary by a mere 6%.
“The protection afforded to high rollers in the public sector contrasts starkly with the plans of the government to slash the wages of frontline workers.
“In the Taoiseach’s own Department two of the Special Advisors are paid €168,000 while in the Department of Social protection the Special advisor receives €127,000.
“The government cannot with credibility to call for cuts to pay in the negotiations while it continues to protect the lavish pay and pension pots of ministers and senior civil servants.”