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Strike threat as Croke Park deal collapses


Industrial action in the health service and other parts of the public sector is now threatened following the collapse of the proposed new Croke Park deal.

The country’s largest public service union,SIPTU, which includes 45,000 health service workers, has rejected the ‘Croke Park 11’ proposals by a margin of 53.7% against and 46.3% in favour.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) also rejected the deal today, with a 95.5% vote against it.

The SIPTU vote, however, is expected to lead to the collapse of the Croke Park Deal extension proposals, as they cannot be sanctioned by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) without the support of SIPTU, which is the largest union in the country.

The IMPACT union, which also represents health service workers, has voted by 56% to 46% to accept the new Croke Park deal.

The Government may now move to legislate for the implementation of pay cuts in the public sector in the absence of overall union agreement on the Croke Park proposals. This would put the Government on a collision course with the unions.

Commenting on the result, SIPTU General President Jack O’Connor said that the vote reflected the sense of grievance among working people and public service workers, in particular, ‘that they are carrying an excessive burden in the post-crisis adjustment.’

SIPTU and the INMO urged the Government not to legislate for pay cuts. The INMO said this would ‘inevitably result in major disagreement and a potential dispute.’

The HSE needed to save €150 million this year from planned pay savings under the Croke Park deal in order to stay within budget.

The health executive’s latest performance report says this sum had yet to be allocated to its budgetary calculations pending the outcome of the public service pay agreement extension.

In the absence of these pay savings, the HSE may be forced to cut services to balance its books.

The ‘Croke Park 11’ measures included pay and allowance cuts of between 5.5% and 10% for those with salaries above €65,000 -and the reduction of premium rates for staff working on Sundays from double time to 1.75 times the normal hourly rate.

Other overtime rateswere to be cut to time and half for those on less than €35,000 and time and a quarter for those earning more than €35,000. Staff currently on a 39 hour week would do an unpaid hour’s overtime.

Basic pay of staff earning over €185,000 was due to be be cut by 10%.

The deal provided for a three year increments freeze for staff earning more than €65,000, those earning below €35,000 faced a three month increment freeze, while those paid between €35,000 and and €65,000 faced two three-month freezes.

via News stories about the Irish hospital system.

via News stories about the Irish hospital system.

Time to protect Utilities in Ireland fom the Friends of the IMF


IMF HARVEST

What deregulation means

In the “free” market in electricity, grabbing water systems was a sure bet: Governments had already paid for the pipes and the market is captive, customers undeserved and thirsty.  Thatcher’s England led the way with the first privatizations. In Britain, water bills shot up astronomically for consumers .

Once deregulation comes rest assured gas ,water and the cost of electric  services will rise in an ever upward spiral

Enron Purchase of the Buenos Aires water system in Argentina province.

Workers were fired en masse, allowing Enron to pocket their pay, in violation of the company’s solemn promises to invest. Without maintenance workers, water mains were left broken. Enron’s profitable neglect of the system left water contaminated.

“Maintaining our water infrastructure in public ownership is of major importance for future generations. It is essential that we ensure that this asset is maintained under democratic control and not allowed to fall into the hands of those who would wish to exploit this resource for private profit at the expense of the public interest,” said Jack O’Connor, president of Services industrial professonal and technical union (SIPTU).

SIPTU Sector Organiser, Michael Wall, said: “The alliance will focus on the role of staff in the new company and highlighting the consequences for the country if the process of privatisation of water services is continued.

“The unions will develop a joint policy and actions across the country as the efforts to reduce public ownership of water services is rolled out.”

The unions involved in the new alliance are SIPTU, UNITE and the TEEU.

and

What IMF loans mean

Take the case of Ecuador

While trying to pay down the mountain of IMF obligations, Ecuador foolishly “liberalized” its tiny financial market, cutting local banks loose from government controls and letting private debt and interest rates explode. Who pushed Ecuador into all of the nonsense why none other than the IMF so their corporate friends could benefit

Statement from SIPTU Ireland

Maintaining our water infrastructure in public ownership is of major importance for future generations. It is essential that we ensure that this asset is maintained under democratic control and not allowed to fall into the hands of those who would wish to exploit this resource for private profit at the expense of the public interest,” said Jack O’Connor, president of Services industrial professional and technical union (SIPTU).

Don’t turn the tap off and let the IMF benefit from Ireland’s utilities

download (4)

 

IMF image produced by Alec Foley

Unions seek €330m from Aer Lingus and DAA to resolve pension deficit row


Unions at Aer Lingus and the Dublin Airport Authority say the two companies will have to contribute at least €330m between them to resolve the row over the €750m deficit in their joint pension scheme.

Management and unions at the two aviation companies have been locked in complex negotiations to address the deficit at the scheme known as the Irish Aviation Superannuation Scheme (IASS).

Last week, SIPTU withdrew strike notice to allow negotiations to continue.

The latest figures are contained in a submission sent by Irish Congress of Trade Unions Industrial Officer Liam Berney to the talks chairman, Labour Relations Commission Chief Executive Kieran Mulvey.

Unions calculate that Aer Lingus would have to contribute at least €200m, with the DAA paying €130m, to ensure that members receive the pension benefits they have expected from the IASS.

The unions say that stringent pension regulations and the unwillingness of employers to increase contributions to the existing scheme could force its wind-up.

The DAA said it was currently in a process at the Labour Relations Commission in relation to the pension issue.

It said that based on actuarial advice, the DAA offer would deliver a substantial pension for DAA staff at retirement.

It described SIPTU’s earlier description of the DAA’s offer as “derisory” as a misrepresentation of the facts.

Aer Lingus said it remained committed to finding an appropriate solution to the issues involving the pension scheme.

Aer Lingus and the DAA have proposed freezing the current defined benefit scheme, and using the assets to buy sovereign bonds to fund benefits.

In future staff from the two companies would belong to two separate defined contribution schemes – which carry more risk for the employee.

The document notes that settling the dispute over the pension deficit will bring considerable benefits to the employers, by transferring risk from the employers to the employees, by improving the balance sheets of both companies, and by enhancing the Aer Lingus share price.

However, it also warns that employees stood to lose a considerable portion of their expected benefits.

Informed sources noted that legal action could not be ruled out, either by shareholders in Aer Lingus objecting to further payments to pension funds, or from deferred members or retired members of the scheme, who are not represented at the negotiations.

It also remains to be seen what position will be adopted by the trustees of the IASS, who have ultimate legal and financial responsibility for the scheme.

via Unions seek €330m from Aer Lingus and DAA to resolve pension deficit row – RTÉ News.

via Unions seek €330m from Aer Lingus and DAA to resolve pension deficit row – RTÉ News.

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