FG Accuse Gov Over Civil Servant Pay

The leading opposition party has accused the Government of planning to revoke senior civil servant pay cuts.

Fine Gael's finance spokesman Richard Bruton said the Government was preparing to "force a vote in the Daíl" into accepting a reduction in the pay cuts for top civil servants.

Mr Bruton said his Party would be using its Private Members' Time to call for senior civil servants to be treated identically to lower earners and for the Government to "reverse its u-turn on the issue".

"The Government’s decision to reduce the level of pay cuts at senior grades, on the basis that a separate bonus scheme was suspended some time ago, is underhand, unjustified and must be reversed," the opposition spokesman said.

He added: "Pay cuts graded according to ability to pay was a key feature of the Budget and, in fact, the Finance Minister agreed to implement recommendations of the Review Group in full at Budget time."

Mr Bruton said that under the Government’s new plan, the after tax reduction for higher earners will be 1.5% while their colleagues earning one quarter of their salary would see a 5% cut.

The Fine Gael spokeman's comments come in the wake of a double u-turn on the issue by Brian Lenihan, who on Thursday granted a reprieve for senior civil servants who were originally supposed to suffer pay cuts of between 8 and 12% but will now only face cuts of between 3 and 5.5%.

In addition, any of those that had their January pay packets cut by the original amount will be refunded.

Mr Lenihan's said the reason for the U-turn was that the 120 assistant secretaries affected by the decision had already suffered a pay cut last year when their bonus scheme had been taken away.


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