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25 March 2010 Edition

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Public service unions should refine strategy

The public service unions need to refine their strategy to ensure maximum pressure on the Fianna Fáil/Green Government and minimum disruption to the public, such as that occurring at the Passport Office. He also questioned what he called inconsistencies in the way in which the work-to-rule is operating in local government.
The unions in the public service need to refine their strategy of opposition to pay cuts and service cuts in order to make that opposition more effective. They need to ensure maximum pressure on the Fianna Fáil/Green Government, which has imposed pay cuts that hit low and middle income earners in the public service and cuts in services that hit the public.
The situation at the Passport Office is causing huge disruption to the public and taking the focus off the government’s responsibility. More strategic thinking is required. For example, Passport Office staff could issue passports but refuse to accept or process payments.
There are inconsistencies in the way in which the work-to-rule is operating in local government. Up to last week all unions were dealing with those elected representatives whose parties oppose the cuts. Since then IMPACT has broken ranks and has instructed its members in local government not to deal with elected representatives at any level or from any party. This is totally counter-productive and only serves to take pressure off Fianna Fáil at central and local government level.
Sinn Féin fully supports the demand for the reversal of cuts in public services and in the pay of workers in the public service, except at the top level. What is needed is maximum possible co-operation and co-ordination between all those in political, trade union and community sectors who oppose the cuts and who demand a better, fairer way forward.

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