Fianna Fáil Public Expenditure Spokesperson Sean Fleming TD has reacted to news that SIPTU, the country’s largest trade union has voted to reject the Government’s Croke Park 2 proposals.
Deputy Fleming commented, “We support the need to achieve additional savings, but we believe that there is a fairer way. The rejection of the Croke Park 2 proposals by the membership of SIPTU is a significant blow and is an indictment of the Government’s strategy as it attempted to continue the long-standing practice of industrial harmony in this country.
“From day one, the Government’s and particularly Minister Brendan Howlin’s approach has been wrong. Since coming into Government, Fine Gael and Labour sought first to undermine the contribution of the public service, painting a caricature of time-servers enjoying a range of exotic and indefensible perks and privileges.
“Ignoring the progress and savings achieved under the original Croke Park Agreement, Minister Howlin then sought to divide and conquer public sector workers, developing proposals which saw those on the front line bear a disproportionate burden.
“When it became clear that this wasn’t working, Government sources then leaked details of an unspecified €300 Million ‘honey pot’ that would be available to sweeten the deal for unspecified sectors of the public service.
“When this didn’t work, he then resorted to a straightforward threat that he would implement a 7% pay cut across the board if workers did not support his proposals.
“While several unions have yet to declare the result of their ballots, it appears clear now that public servants have rejected this mixture of division, bribery and threats.
“The Minister rejected my repeated calls for full disclosure of all side offers and a commitment to fairness. I would call on the Minister to spell out quickly how he intends to respond to today’s rejection and what he will do to ensure fairness.”