• Irish public sector pay still amongst highest in Europe. • Public-private sector pay differentials must be reduced. • Unions excessive pay demands must be resisted.
ISME, Tuesday 25th November 2014.
ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, at the release of the CSO figures on Earnings and Labour Costs for the 3rd quarter of 2014, called for the extension of the Haddington Road Agreement to 2017 to allow for some semblance of equity across the economy, where the cushioned public sector continues to enjoy a massive 50% premium in pay rates, compared to the private sector.
Today’s CSO figures, along with recent studies from the European Commission confirm that the pay gap is bigger in Ireland than in any other country, even when different education levels are accounted for. The Association stated that the only way to bring public sector wages into line was through a wage freeze until 2017.
The figures show that the average public sector wage is now 50% higher than the average in the private sector. This differential is even more pronounced when you consider that the average wage in a small business is €524 compared with €906 in the public sector, a massive 73% difference.
According to ISME CEO, Mark Fielding, “One of the unwanted legacies of the Celtic Tiger era is the excessively high rates of public sector wages, compared, not just with Irish private sector workers but also compared with all other European countries’ public sector pay”.
“The private-sector is no longer willing to pay for excessive public sector wages through high taxes and the loss of private sector jobs and businesses. The public sector has been largely sheltered from the wreckage of the recession and continues to be paid Tiger wages as a result of increments, despite all the opposition to Croke Park and Haddington Road”.
The Association called for:
• A freeze on public sector pay until 2017.
• A comprehensive international led review of public sector wages, conditions, perks and increments.
• Improved efficiencies within the public sector to bring it to world class status.
“Fixing the public sector must not be allowed to degenerate into demonising it. Its health is vital to the health of society as a whole, not least because of its impact on economic growth. 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”, concluded Fielding.