Australian Astronomers have found a black hole 12bn times the sun’s size and they cannot explain how it formed but they know what Sector it’s in. It’s called SDSS J0100+2802. (Irish Examiner 26th February)
Irish experts in the CSO are one step ahead. They have also today confirmed another black hole but they know how it formed and which sector it’s in; our one is in the Public Sector and it’s called PSE&LC (the Public Sector Earnings and Labour Costs).
The CSO figures on Earnings and Labour Costs for the 4th quarter of 2014, show that the average public sector wage is now 42% higher than the average in the private sector. This ‘black hole differential’ is even more pronounced when you consider that the average wage in a small business is €561 compared with €911 in the public sector, a massive 62% difference. The European Commission has also confirmed that the pay gap is bigger in Ireland than in any other country, even when different education levels are accounted for.
We know how this ‘black hole’ was formed; by ineffective ‘asleep at the wheel’ politicians allowing the public sector pay bill run riot. From the year 2000 until the economic crash, the Irish public sector pay bill rose by a gargantuan 138%, four times greater than the Eurozone average.
Not only do we have a Black Hole but we also have a parallel universe.
The one way to remove the public sector pay-setting from the politicians is to introduce a Pay Commission, similar to the Low Pay Commission, a transparent process, chaired by an international expert. Without this, the public sector bargaining will once again revert to the tail wagging the political dog, compounding inequality, imbalance and unfairness and eroding competitiveness.
We now have a low-pay commission, so why not introduce a Public Sector Pay Commission to adjudicate on the massive anomalies vis a vis the private sector and international comparisons. If labour ministers are so excited about increasing the low pay, they should be equally enthused about eliminating higher pay inequalities.
However, the flies in the ointment are, number one, their salaries would be affected and number two, there’s no votes in it”.
The public sector continues to be paid Tiger wages as a result of increments. Public sector unions deny this repeatedly, despite the evidence to the contrary from the CSO. Many people believe the denials because they have heard them repeated so frequently that they assume them to be true. But let's be clear: average Irish public sector wages are 42% above those in the private sector.
A strong public sector is an important and essential component of any modern economy, but it has to be efficient, cost effective and focused on delivering value for money. Maintaining an already over generous public sector pay bill, in an environment where Ireland is currently borrowing €8 billion to run the country, does not make sense and just adds to the tax burden for all.