Pay deal or no pay deal?

What is the Government’s position on the pay freeze contained in the recently agreed wage agreement? The trade union leaders appeared to glean from what the Taoiseach said in the Dáil yesterday that the matter should be re-opened. When the Taoiseach returned from Berlin last night he indicated that he did not propose to re-open the matter. Senator Boyle, presumably on behalf of the Green Party component of the Government, said that the 11-month pay freeze should be extended beyond August of next year. What in fact is the Government position?

There is a strong argument to be made that in agreeing the pay deal in September, the Government acted precipitously and it should have waited until the budget statement was made and the true position on the public finances was known. A very compelling argument can be had as to why it entered into that deal at the time. However, having entered into it, the credibility of the Government and all the social partners is greatly undermined by these suggestions that it might be re-opened eight or nine months prior to its actual implementation, in August of next year.