By Denis Keane, CPSU Executive
THE ANNOUNCEMENT of a “pension levy” on public sector workers has been met with a wave of anger by civil service and public sector workers. The reality for public sector workers the majority of whom earn €35,000 per annum or less, is that far from being overpaid, they are already struggling. To quote David Begg, the difference this levy will make to these workers is “the difference between existing and not existing”.
The level of anger was shown by the sending of 1,200 emails to CPSU head office in a little over a day. This level of opposition is not surprising given that a significant number of our members qualify for Family Income Supplement and are to have their wages cut by ?2,000 – ?3,000.
This is not a pension levy – it’s a pay cut. Far from having “Rolls Royce” pensions, the reality for a clerical officer with forty years service for the state is a pension of ?20,000. This includes the current state pension of around ?13,000. So, in reality, the “Rolls Royce” pension amounts to under ?7,000 a year and less than that if you haven’t worked the full forty years.
The CPSU Executive decided on 9 February to ballot its members for industrial action up to and including strike action. This is the start with a one day strike on the 26 February. It also called a demonstration of CPSU members (open to all public servants) at the Dail on Wednesday 18 February.
While calling these actions the CPSU is acutely aware of the need to work with all other public sector unions to defeat this brutal attack. It is not just in the CPSU where rank and file members are up in arms, but right across the public sector.
Our members demand that those responsible for this economic mess be made to pay. It was not public sector workers who got us into this mess and we will not be used as scapegoats for the mistakes of others. Trade union activists throughout the public sector need to push for a united and co-ordinated response from the unions by calling for a one-day public sector strike.