Is this the end for the National Pay Agreement?

Yesterdays PR excercise Budget could spell the end for the National Pay Agreement. Unions and employers organisations have yet to approve the deal and after yesterdays Budget I can’t see any union recommending it to its members. Already the deal called for a pay freeze and then rises less then inflation, in reality a pay cut, but with the government taking 1% from EVERY worked and increasing VAT which will increase inflation by about 1.1% (thats 2.1% gone) workers don’t have money to spend. It wil all come down to local bargaining. I don’t foresee many strikes, as I do not see the Pay Agreements as a reason there hasn’t been any in the last number of years. But the budget takes the biscuit so to speak for many workers. I will be amazed if any union approves the deal and certainly ICTU won’t. IBEC aren’t happy with the budget either so, I doubt they will approve it either. Fun times ahead.

YFG Summer School 08 leading to thoughts on Social Partnership

At the weekend I attended Young Fine Gael’s annual Summer School which took place in Carlingford in County Louth a beautiful location.

It was a different summer school then normal with motions being discussed after a welcome from the local Councillor, Cllr Terry Brennan. Mairead McGuinness MEP chaired this session. We had 6 motions to be discussed and exactly half passed with the others failing.

The motions that passed were allowing Provisional Drivers to drive unaccompanied between 6am and 9pm and a curfew between 9pm and 6am; a motion backing staggered nightclub closing times; and a motion praising the Civil Partnership Bill.

The Moions that failed were on Removing God from Bunreacht Na hEireann; restricting free legal aid to repeat offenders; and the banning of Hijabs and Burkas in public buildings (including schools)

After we had a session on Social Partnership which was chair by Leo Varadkar TD. In this part we had Jim Power, of Friends First, arguing against Partnership and John White of the ASTI arguing for it. I went in with an open mind on where I stood on it, but no without an understanding. I knew what was involved since we had to study it at Uni. I came out with a clear impression that we do not need partnership “at any cost” like some in Government seam to be looking for. If there a partnership agreement it needs to be sensible, we are heading into uncertain times and we cannot afford frivolous agreements.

While partnership has played some role since the late 80’s in where we are today it is not be all and end all. There were many contributing factors. We can survive without partnership look at the number of countries that do use it to the level that it is used here.

Of course I will wait to see the new agreement before I will see whether or not I think it should continue!