So the public service will have people with the same jobs and levels of responsibility in permanent positions, but one group will not only have a pay premium, they will have a vastly superior pension scheme and top-up earners called 'allowances.'
Would the State tolerate that situation in the private sector?
It's likely that the different rights available for people doing the same work in an organisation will at some point be tested in the European Court of Justice and workers who have been judged to have suffered discrimination would be compensated.
The Irish Examiner on Tuesday said in respect of Monday's 'brave' negotiated agreement on salaries of medical consultants (both the government negotiators and the union at the opposite side of the table, shared exactly the same self interest - - protect existing priviliges) that the "new grade of hospital consultant will be established and paid something around 30% less than incumbents... Today consultants’ salaries range from €147,000 to about €200,000. In future consultants will be employed on a salary scale between €116,000 and €121,000. This is a spectacular and overdue change but it reeks of protecting privilege and skinning those not at the negotiating table. By all means cut these table-topping salaries but it would have been far more equitable if today’s consultants faced pay cuts rather than imposing the cost of recovery squarely on the shoulders of tomorrow’s doctors."
Howlin announced on Tuesday that the Government had decided to abandon its plans to prune €75m from the €1.5bn total annual cost of public service allowances/ fixed sum expense payments, and €3.5m in savings could only be achieved. Besides the €75m initially planned, Howlin had promised savings of €150m in 2013 and another €150m in 2014 under a previous announcement.
He said that “over 1100 allowances have been notified to his Department, and over 800 business cases (some covering multiple allowances) were submitted by Departments/Offices for retention of allowances, either in the current or modified format.”
The minister said certain allowances will not be paid to new beneficiaries. The annual cost of paying these allowances to current incumbents is in the region of €475m.
It is also patently dishonest to highlight savings on pay while ignoring rising pension costs:
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