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17 January 2008 Edition

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Doherty slams Benchmarking report

The Benchmarking report on public service pay in the 26 Counties, published last week, particularly failed lower paid public sector workers who were led to believe that their pay demands would be addressed through the process. according to Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty.  Benchmarking was leading to the mirroring of wage disparities in the private sector in the Public sector, he said.  
“Late last year we had the spectacle of Government Ministers and senior civil servants being awarded huge pay increases at a time when the Government was hinting at the old line of tightening our belts. Compare that announcement with the report published today from the Public Service Benchmarking Body which has failed lower paid public sector workers in particular. Despite harsh economic realities Government Ministers and senior civil servants are to be rewarded with pay increases of up to 15% while other public sector workers are to receive nothing. This is a disgrace”, Doherty said.
“Public sector workers including nurses were led to believe that their pay demands would be dealt with through the benchmarking process. Clearly these pay issues have not been dealt with through benchmarking. It fails key public sector workers, especially those on the lowest grades”, said the Donegal Senator.
“The fatal flaw of the benchmarking process, as we are now seeing, is that income disparities in the private sector are being applied to the public sector with those on low pay getting little or nothing while those on high wages benefit from increases. I agree with the trade union representatives who have said that this report is reflective of the failure of Government to address growing disparities in society.
“Improving the incomes of low paid workers in the public and private sectors must be at the top of the next round of pay talks. Demands for wage restraint should be targeted at those who already earn multiples of the average industrial wage”, he said.
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