Inequality between public and private sector pay continues
Unions must show solidarity with all workers, not just public servants
35% of SMEs will not increase pay
ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, at the release of the CSO Earnings and Labour costs figures today (26th May), called for prudence in the ongoing public sector pay talks. The Association warns against unjustifiable public sector pay increases.
Average weekly earnings were €723 in Q1 2017, a rise of 1.4% from €713 one year earlier according to preliminary estimates of the Earnings and Labour Costs Quarterly release. However, the differential in weekly pay between the public (€916) and private sector (€669) now stands at €247, a rise of €4.00 in the weekly gap from Q1'16 to Q1 17. (i.e. the public private sector pay gap is widening)
ISME, CEO, Neil McDonnell said, “The yawning pay gap between public and private sector is unique to Ireland. In other OECD countries the gap is narrower or non-existent. This is no longer just a fiscal issue. It is an issue of basic social solidarity, morality and equality. The Public Service Pay Commission’s report acknowledged that our public servants are amongst the best paid in Europe, and found a recruitment or retention problem in just two sectors of our public service. Yet without exception, every union, in every sector of our public service is looking for increased pay, and more recruitment.
“The silence on this issue from Ireland’s self-styled ‘left’ is deafening. The current public sector pay talks must produce a fair, equitable and sustainable outcome for the sake of the economy and our children. Last year the public sector pay bill increased by 5.3%. With growing public sector employment, this bill will only further increase. In contrast, 35% of SMEs state they will not increase pay this year.”
The Association called for:
Improved efficiencies within the public sector to increase value for money.
Removal of restrictive rules on out-sourcing in the public sector.
“Government must not be held to ransom by public sector unions. They must stop the sequester of wealth from the working many in the private sector to the privileged few in the public sector. Ireland urgently needs infrastructure and services improvements before we consider any increases in public sector pay” concluded McDonnell.