Sharing the pain?

The Indo reports that 340,000 Irish public sector workers will be celebrating receiving their annual increment salary increases this year. At the same time, Irish private sector workers stare into an abyss of pay cuts, redundancies and government tax hikes – in part to fund these increases.

But, somehow, it’s not a pay rise! By the way, for any public sector workers reading, these types of increases are unusual in the private sector. In the private sector you normally either get a pay rise or you don’t. Unlike many in the public sector, you do not automatically get an increase in your salary just for working another year, with a pay rise on top of this. You may get a cost of living increase, and when you get promoted (which is certainly not normally annual), you do tend to get bigger pay rises – as you are effectively doing a different, more senior job. In the public sector you may jump onto a more generous pay scale on promotion. In the current environment, in order to save jobs with companies struggling, many workers are taking pay cuts, others less fortunate have been or will be made redundant. Finally – as private sector workers have always had to contribute to their own pensions, these rises at a time when the tax bills of the fortunate are soaring seem deeply inequitable.

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