After the storm

The Croke Park deal should ensure that Irish public sector workers are spared any further pay cuts. Perhaps worth reflecting, after a painful couple of years, that according to the OECD, Irish state workers are still among the best rewarded in the world. The Sunday Business Post report on a survey by Forfas and the National Competitiveness Council.

The figures for 2010 show that Irish nurses are paid the fourth-highest average salary ($67,000) in the OECD.

The starting salary for primary teachers in Ireland this year is 15 per cent higher than that OECD average, while the top salary for teachers is 33 per cent higher.

These figures take account of the public sector pay cuts, but not the 7.5 per cent pension levy, as many other countries also require pension contributions.

The survey shows that grocery costs remain expensive in Ireland but Irish employees have a higher purchasing power than many of their international competitors.

That means that they must work less time to buy branded consumer goods, such as a McDonald’s Big Mac (15 minutes work) or an iPod Nano (ten hours work).The average time working required among other rich countries is 22 minutes for a Big Mac and 17 hours for an iPod Nano.

Despite criticism from many quarters, with the deficit bloated by the Anglo bailout set to hit 20% this year, it may be fair to say that the Irish Trade Union leadership played a blinder!