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Need for urgent dialogue with public sector unions - Gerry Adams TD

15 November, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil this afternoon, has said it is vital that the Taoiseach accepts the very real need for urgent dialogue with the public sector, and has said the formation of a new public sector pay agreement lays out “a clear, sensible path to the provision of full pay restoration”, as well as pay equality for post-2011entrants to the public service.

Teachta Adams said:

“Frontline workers in health, education, justice and transport have had to deal with a system that has had its budget cut to the bone. The workload and work environment has gotten worse. Pay has decreased and conditions have deteriorated. 

“Public sector workers have had over €12billion taken from their pay, while they work an additional 15million hours a week. New entrants from January 2011 start on a pay scale that is on average 10 percent less than their colleagues.

“The Government has no plan to address these issues and there is no commitment to equal pay for equal work. The mantra that the Lansdowne Road Agreement is ‘the only game in town’ does not hold, and there is now a clear need for a new pay deal built upon fairness and equality for workers.

“What the vast majority of workers want and deserve is the fair and timely unwinding of pay cuts and pay restoration. We know that cannot be achieved overnight, but it can be time lined through effective dialogue and the formation of a new pay agreement which lays out a clear, sensible path to the provision of full pay restoration.

“In Sinn Féin’s view, this must be a process that prioritises those on low and middle incomes. It must also ensure pay equality for post-2011 entrants, beginning with the restoration of certain allowances for nurses, non-consultant doctors, teachers and Gardaí.

“There is a notion, peddled by their detractors, that public sector workers are a protected species. That may be so for some high earners, but the vast majority of public sector workers are on low and middle incomes, and they play an absolutely crucial role in the development of our public services. 

“A strong, properly-funded and resourced public sector is crucial to ensure economic and social progress. An integral step to achieving is to ensure that those working in the public sector enjoy equitable pay, conditions and certainty. Private sector workers deserve the same.

“Despite the Taoiseach’s resistance thus far, and Micheál Martin’s attempts yesterday to appear more hard-line than the Taoiseach, is vital that the Taoiseach accepts the very real need for urgent dialogue with the public sector”. 

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