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Lansdowne decision fails to address equal work for equal pay – Cullinane

17 January, 2017 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Public Expenditure and Reform David Cullinane said today that, while the decision to move forward the Lansdowne Road Agreement will bring much needed respite to low to middle income public sector workers, the core issue of equal work for equal pay is still not being addressed. This is a missed opportunity, he added.

Deputy Cullinane said:

“The story today that Minister Pascal Donohoe intends to move forward pay restoration for low to middle income public sector workers to April reveals a couple of things.

“The first is that the Minister’s mantra that the Lansdowne Road Agreement is written in stone is simply not the case; the terms of the agreement are about to be changed after renegotiation with ICTU.

“The second is that an unfair agreement with a new start date is still an unfair agreement.

“There is nothing in the leaked details to suggest that the minister will do anything about equal work for equal pay for post-2011 entrants.

“This is a core issue at the heart of the industrial disputes in education as well as possible industrial disputes in health.

“The Minister could have elected to address equal work for equal pay, but seemingly neither he nor his department are interested in that.

“It is probably worth noting that the leaked start date will coincide with the planned pay increase for TDs on 1 April.

“A more cynical person than myself may feel that this is about giving cover for TDs who refused to forgo their increase until such time as we have equal work for equal pay.

“In our document on public sector pay, Sinn Féin argued that a commitment to equal pay for equal work should begin in 2017 with the restoration of certain allowances for post-2011 nurses, doctors, teachers and gardaí.

“We believe that the public sector needs to return to a single-tier pay system and that a new agreement should achieve equal pay for equal work. This should be listed as a priority for the next budget.

“Sinn Féin is committed to shrinking the wage differential between the lowest and the highest earners in the public sector. We are also committed to addressing the gender pay gap across the economy including within public sector employment.

“The issue of pay in the public service is one of maintaining services and key workers; of recognizing the sacrifices public sector workers have made since 2008; and of tackling issues of morale caused by the deeply unequal two-tier pay system that currently exists.

“However, increased public expenditure is also required to improve and expand our public services which benefits both public and private sector workers and their families alike.

“It is hard to see how moving forward an unfair agreement by five months will do any of this.

“Once again, Minister Donohoe has shown his inability to tackle the issues at hand.” 

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