Yesterday the Government introduced a bill to lift the pay freeze off public servants including those of TDs and as a TD I feel it’s ludicrous to give the scope for TDs to get a pay increase while the vast majority of this country has felt little or no recovery. The bill, disguised as a Public Sector pay increase, was passed last night by 106 TDs but the people who will benefit from this bill most are the high income public sector workers who earn in excess of 70k per annum, they will see the biggest increase including the Labour TDs who drafted this legislation.
Junior public sector staff such as nurses, teachers and Gardai and particularly those new to their jobs will see practically no difference in their take home pay, several amendments were made to this legislation originally that would have benefitted the less well paid public sector employees but of course were rejected by the Government.
We still have measures of austerity such as the USC in place, we have a housing crisis where there is 1,500 plus children living in emergency accommodation, we have couples in mortgage arrears being harassed and threatened with repossessions, we have private sector employees on zero hour, zero dignity contracts and we have a Government that publishes a fifth regressive budget making huge gains for Multinational Corporations and the well off while giving crumbs to the low paid and less well off and to put the icing on the cake they give themselves a payrise!
Payrises need to be proportionate and this bill will befit people disproportionately and as with every measure this Government brings to the house this will benefit the better paid and better well off in society. It is for that and that alone that I, along with other left TD’s, voted No. I fully support living wage and better conditions and increase pay for public sector employees and if that was all this Bill was about I would vote in favour, unfortunately that is not all this Bill about as it will further give pay rises to people who DO NOT need pay rises whilst huge segments of the country have yet to feel ANY of the recovery the Gov keep sprouting about.
Some people will think this bill is just for the nurses, gards and teachers but the fact is the people who will benefit most are to top paid public servants such as TDs, Consultants, Senior civil servants on already high salaries which is wrong, it is ironic that the people who voted in favour will see their pay increased most.
I would have supported public increases if for example it was solely for public servants earning less than €40k a year, but I think it’s ridiculous that public servants on high salaries such as TDs will have scope for an increase.
I will not vote in favour of legislation that will see someone earning a very healthy salary of €70k see a jump in their salary whereas a public sector employee earning €22k will see practically no change to their take home pay…this is inherently wrong and once again shows that this Government are committed to the practise on keeping the well paid very well paid and keeping the people at the bottom firmly at the bottom.
I have supported wholesale public sector reform that would see productivity as the key issue that will create value for the entire exchequer, as we all know too well the nurses/doctor in A&E are productive, the teachers in classrooms are productive as are the Gards on the beat, can the same be said for high ranking public sector employees where there has always been a productivity question for many and a need for the amount of staff to fulfil one managerial/administrative job.
For these reasons I have opposed this bill as I believe there should be full reform of public sector pay that prioritises those who do a fantastic challenging job on the lower end of the pay scale, not a huge bonus for the high earners including the TDs who drafted, voted in favour and will directly benefit from this legislation.