Dr. Liam Twomey of Fine Gael has expressed concern about the effect that the continuation of the public sector crisis will have on the economy over the coming year. As a result of his concern, he called for an urgent debate on the issue of the public sector dispute in the Seanad this week but it was defeated by the government senators who voted against the debate.
Dr. Twomey pointed out that discussions are underway between the Government and the public sector union leadership but the Opposition has no idea what is happening in those negotiations. “We have all received representations from public sector workers who are concerned about these pay cuts. I, like other public representatives in county Wexford, have received a letter from the leadership of the IMPACT union that issued veiled threats about what it would do at the next general election if we do not support them. I say to the leadership of the public sector unions that we do not even know what it wants to negotiate on. Even though some people in this House support the public sector unions in this industrial action, the public sector unions themselves are not engaging with the Opposition to any degree.”
Dr. Twomey added, “There is a concern that a divide is arising between public and private sector workers. This industrial action will only ensure a divide between the public sector and the general public. The people who need the help the most are the ones that are being the most badly affected by the dispute. The people that come to public reps for help only come because they have exhausted all avenues themselves and are having difficulties either financially or medically. When the public sector workers send back unopened my letters of representation for my county Wexford constituents, they are causing problems for my constituents, not the government politicians.”
Dr. Twomey called on the unions to let the opposition public representatives know what they aim to achieve in the negotiations with the Government. “The government will not tell us anything so it’s important for the unions to engage with us so that we have some idea what is happening at the moment.”
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