August 6, 2008

This (social) partnership just isn't worth saving

Posted in Celtic Tiger · 54 comments ·
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The end of partnership might not be such a bad thing after all. At the moment, it is difficult to turn on the TV or radio without hearing someone lamenting the demise of the national pay talks and warning of dire consequences.

For an institution that was supposed — at least, according to the people involved in it — to be the cornerstone of our economic policy, it crumbled pretty quickly. This capitulation in the face of its first real economic challenge suggests that partnership might not have been all it was cracked up to be.

Let’s get one thing clear: our economic growth rates in recent years had nothing to do with partnership. Anyone with a grasp of Leaving Cert economics could figure that out.

The growth rates were more or less a mirage based on a borrowing binge.

As we merrily waltzed ourselves up a debtors’ cul de sac and became the world’s most indebted private sector, this overdraft threw off lots of surplus cash which found its way into the Government’s coffers as various taxes such as VAT, excise duty and stamp duty.

The associated domestic boom in houses, cars, holidays and (demented) consumption, pushed up the demand for labour, generating buckets of services jobs and, in turn, lots of income tax. This created a government surplus and this surplus was divvied up among the social partners.

So partnership was the residual in this equation. Rather than being the beginning of the story, partnership was the result, the final chapter. It was not the catalyst or the spark, but the thankful recipient of a tax surplus.

When we stopped borrowing, late last year, the taxes dried up. There was no miracle, just a shell-shocked debtor clinging to the decaying edifice of a silly housing boom. Without the surplus borrowed cash, there was nothing left to divvy up and the great political structure called partnership has been exposed as another mirage, just like the housing boom. The various claims made about the link between partnership and Ireland’s growth rates are as spurious as the ones that told you houses prices could only go up. These assertions are simply bad economics for which a decent secondary school teacher should fail a student.

This is no one’s fault really; it’s just the way it goes.

Partnership was an example of national corporatism. Its proponents suggest that its existence account for the avoidance of industrial relations problems. They omitted to tell anyone that industrial relations problems virtually disappeared in all English-speaking economies in the past 20 years. The reason for this peace is the most prolonged boom we have experienced since the 1960s. When everyone is doing well, we don’t quarrel.

Furthermore, there is something adolescent about threatening strikes as a means of keeping an agreement together when you know that we are all facing into a profoundly different scenario. No one denies a man’s right to withdraw his labour if he feels he is being taken for a ride. However, this is not what is going on in Ireland at the moment.

Let’s go back to the Leaving Cert economics course to get a clearer picture of what is going on now and what is likely to pertain for the next few years on the industrial relations front.

AS unemployment rises, wage inflation will have to fall somewhat. This is the crux of the problem. We can no longer afford to mop up the unemployed with government-inspired work schemes (as we did by expanding the public sector from 2002 onwards).

So unemployment will rise in sectors where there are no productivity gains. If employers give higher wages without getting productivity increases, profits will fall.

The Government is Ireland’s biggest single employer, so instead of profits falling, if it were to give pay increases greater than productivity (which we know is impossible to measure in the public sector) the budget deficit would grow and could only be paid for by higher taxes or less spending elsewhere. On the other side of the coin, anyone who has been shopping for basic groceries in recent months will realise that inflation is rampant. Some of this is being imported, such as oil prices and food prices, but lots of the “mark up” has got to do with domestic costs. So the average worker — no matter where he works — is looking for wages to compensate for the diminishing buying power of his pay packet.

On top of this, the great Irish borrowing binge has to be paid back. The credit crunch is forcing up the monthly repayments on mortgages for hundreds of thousands of working families who find themselves in negative equity. The “under-40s” are hurting the most. Their take home pay is being squeezed from all three sides: wages have hit their ceiling, inflation is eroding spending power and debts have to be paid.

By the way, this pattern always happens in a downturn. This is what recessions are about and normally the three compounding facts are the recipe for a monumental struggle between workers and employers. And in Ireland, we have a new wildcard in the pack: immigrants.

In our Leaving Cert economic model (which is incidentally colour-blind), immigrants are just another bunch of workers fighting for the same thing. However, they will have the effect of bringing wages down lower than they otherwise would have been if the immigrants were not here. This implies they will be in direct competition with the local workers as the recession bites.

Something will have to give and it is likely that we will see a titanic struggle between workers and management, with immigrants adding a new flavour to the mix. This is something we haven’t seen before.

If the partnership head-honchos are honest they should tell it like it is, as a good Leaving Cert student would. Instead, we are getting spin, deception and finger-pointing.

If that’s all they can come up with, after 20 years of social partnership, then good riddance to the lot of them. They’re not worth saving.


  1. MK

    Hi David,

    Its true that the current impasse/stall of ‘social partnership’ will not damage the economy that much. As you correctly point out, in recent years it was more a case of slicing up the cake as it were. However, it did serve a function back in the ‘bad old days’ of 1990 and onwards when it was first started.Then in the bad times it did serve a positive function in setting out national pay deals. This helped to keep inflation (wage inflation) low.

    You mention the reasoning for better industrial relations since the 60′s is a boom time. I would contend that it is the progressive weakening of unions across many sectors that has led to better industrial relations, or less strikes. We here in ireland still see union-led strikes based on ‘small potatoe issues’ and you have written about how you have been affected by such as with Iarnrod Eireann. If the Gardai can “pull a blue-flu”, what hope is there for the rest of the ‘law-abiding’ unions. Strikes and threatened strikes are still used heavily by unions, and those in monopoly sectors such as the public service, an oxymoron if ever there was one!

    > The growth rates were more or less a mirage based on a borrowing binge.

    I think thats taking it a bit too far. Ireland has been a growth story apart from the recent property bubble. It is not a complete mirage. I agree that in recent years the mirage has blinkered many as to what the underlying economy has been doing, but there is an underlying economy. The property bubble did take away many from participating in it though and people lost ‘attention’ and focus as they dabbled with 25% of their time on their property portfolio, etc.

    Immigrants will act as a useful input into our economy. Yes, they will keep wages down, but non-local-service sectors can also use them to their benefit and help the productivity of indigenoues and exporting Irish companies, its not all about staff in McDonalds, Lidl’s or restaurants/hotels. Immigrants will also leave more readily than ‘indigenous’ people at the lower wage-scale, perhaps, and that is an important economic valve.

    MK

  2. Johnny Dunne

    “If that’s all they can come up with, after 20 years of social partnership…”

    and after months of ‘negotiations’, it’s really worrying the ‘solution’ proposed is €30 per week extra for 1.4 million (2/3’s) of the workforce. If this is applied to the majority of the‘hard’ working backbone of this economy on the ‘inflated’ minimum wage (compared to competitive economies) this would increase costs by 10%. Everyone knows now (whether they want to admit to it or not) debt fuelled demand levels in the marketplace will continue to decline. Businesses have no choice but to maintain productivity to survive, this would therefore logically cause more unemployment of up to 10% !

    Could this be as a high as another 100k to add to the nearly 240k today (170k a year ago) – Solution?

  3. david parry

    The disaffected will emigrate and the social partners’ will cosy up to each other before September.Mark my words.Unemployment will reach 300,00 by June, but trade unions’ only represent those in a job so expect the usual crocodile tears.Irish people aspire to the same living standards’ as america but we can only provide this for half the labour force!.

  4. Jonathan

    The unions are in a predicament. If they don’t look after their members when the going gets rough they look ineffectual. It’s easy to secure good conditions when there’s cash aplenty but failure to do so when things are not so easy may make members think twice about the value of union membership. If they chicken out of potentially futile strikes, their only real weapon, they will look powerless.
    I have a feeling strikes are inevitable. The only question is whether the government or the unions will give in first. Whoever concedes will become virtually powerless.

    Incidentally this recession would not be so bad if we weren’t up to our eyeballs in private debt. We’ve only ourselves to blame (and maybe the gov. and banks depending on your outlook)

  5. ImNotAnEconomistBut..

    I’m sympathetic to the view that Ireland’s economics was credit-driven binging from about 2001 onwards, but I’m not clear on the value of partnership prior to that, particularly in the late 80′s – early-to-mid 1990′s. (I seem to remember in fact things were so desperate, somebody proposed a government of national unity between all parties for an agreed fixed period, you can imagine how popular that was…). Comments, David, anybody?

  6. Garry

    Since benchmarking the unelected social partners have been effectively running the economy… the economy was steered to suit the social partners…. high house prices seen as a good thing, opting to keep the building boom going at all costs, and every “partners” wanting their share of the revenue coming in from stamp duty. Very very few of the social partners were direct net contributors to the exchequer, so nobody shouted stop. The easy option was taken as the money wasn’t coming out of anyones pocket at the table. Remember the ATM comment on benchmarking?

    The people who weren’t represented were the younger Irish working in the private/multinational sector more than likely non unionized …… the guys for whom high house prices were a personal debt trap (that has been sprung) and who by paying stamp duty funded the whole thing.

    Now that the wheel has turned can social partnership help?

    Only if the social partners can have a conversation like, revenue has fallen by x%. The public service budget now is now reduced by something close to x% (we borrow a little). So how do we save the difference? What do we stop doing, Who do we let go? How do we minimize the impact on our society?

    If those questions aren’t on the table it ain’t social partnership.

  7. Philip

    There never was an actual social partnership…it was just a social get-together between our so-called leaders supposed to represent us in this country. There is no conflict of interest in this group. They are fully aligned mé-féiners. It is a dictatorship by a collective. You’ll get the same twaddle and groupthink no matter who you vote for. Those who have a union rep are just part of the same collective machine and probably feeling a little more protected right now.

    This credit crunch will probably last another year or more. We are moving into the general job impact phase of the recession and it’s global. Recoverability will be the key for late 2009 and onwards – and this is Ireland’s Achilles heel. Our ability to pull up as fast as other countries will be compromised. Already I can see our ever burgeoning 3rd Level places will be taken up by those who will leave the country as fast as they can with the current 30 somethings who have young enough families doing the same.

    There’ll be no public or semi state sector strikes. It’ll be all bluster. The real fear is that this bluster will undermine confidence in the more productive parts of the economy.

  8. Malcolm McClure

    Cool it, David. “The various claims made about the link between partnership and Ireland’s growth rates are as spurious as the ones that told you houses prices could only go up.”
    Sometimes you come across as a right old Jeremiah. Or maybe Chicken Little. In my opinion, Irish govmints have lot to be content with, regarding the outcome of their policies in the past fifteen years. Of course, times are tough at the moment but they might have been much worse without the social partnership. The main factor causing social antagonism is excessive and overt inequalities. Lets forget debt for a moment. The rising economic tide seems to have floated the boats of everyone with something to offer society.
    These policies transformed the quality of housing in the country. And they successfully used tax to cap most people’ s motor aspirations at the Avensis or Passat level. I could go on. Before we denigrate the SP lets wait and see whether the EC pump-priming exercise has given us the ability to douse the occasional flames of what could still be a temporary recession.

  9. B

    Dear Malcom. You are full of it.

    The government never saw the boom coming and never saw it leaving. We tolerated Partnership as it kept ministers away from the economy.

  10. Philip

    Malcolm, I think a few things need to be corrected immediately -

    1) Quality of houses has actually fallen. The last 5 years has seen a fall in quality in our housing stock and with poorer surrounding community infrastructure. Apartments are smaller and have party walls made of plasterboard and substandard sound insulation (you can hear them whispering next door) and our sprawling estates have no social ammenities. No planning, no clear means of community management, nothing. A quality house is one built 15 + years ago.

    2) The taxes on cars were there to rip off people. Car buying has no rationale anyway – if money is easy and youre soft in the head, you buy- have you not seen the huge number of SUVs over the years? What frightens me is that the car imported into ireland is several revisions (and this includes safety features) behind our European neighbours – due to high VRT and manufacturers having the lowest margin coming in here. Next time that optional stability feature could have come in handy as you go sliding off the road – your british counterpart who has it as a standard feature.

    Recovery will happen at a global level…I do not share your view that SP or EU pump priming is going to carry us forward. And if it does, it has to be faster than the rest of global competitors. That means we need to keep costs low, keep borrowings well managed and start shrinking paychecks of Public/Semi sectors – which is only fair as it has already been happening for 200K plus unemployed and for many already employed in the private sector over the last 5 years. A government that has confidence in Ireland enough to do that has my vote.

  11. Garry

    Malcom,

    I agree with you that they did a lot right and that the past 12-15 years have been great!
    Yeah, theres a lot of good that has been done… housing stock has been renewed, most of it is better than what was there before….

    The thing is we cant forget debt for a moment; its going to drive everything over the next few years.
    For example, lets consider we have a strike somewhere. Those with no mortgages will be fine, those with will either be a massive drain on their union (there wont be non union strikes) or they will lose their homes.

  12. Malcolm McClure

    Philip says:
    “1. The last 5 years has seen a fall in quality in our housing stock and with poorer surrounding community infrastructure.”
    Anyone who buys a home lacking a 10 year homebond guarantee is just foolish. Likewise social infrastructure falls in the caveat emptor category.
    “2. The taxes on cars were there to rip off people.”
    I disagree. Car tax was a good leveller. It meant that everybody could see that drivers of flash gas-guzzlers were overtly repaying their debt to society. SUVs on the other hand are actually a necessity in parts of the country where back roads are so atrocious that if on wants a vehicle to last more than a couple of years the 4X4 is the only way to go..
    Finally, I think you are selling the majority of public servants short by implying they all have cushy jobs and are overpaid. Those that I know work very hard to steer the ships of state, province and county in a positive direction, and are only too aware that jobs in the public gift can too easily be withdrawn if the public gets stroppy. In my opinion they are the only effective brake on untramelled exploitation of the country’s resources by major (and minor) vested interests.

  13. David, you are spot on. Social partnership, certainly during the Celtic Tiger years, was a front for wasting some of the temporary fruits of an unsustainable boom on public service pay. It was a charade. The unions played along to try to preserve their relevance. A complicit Government played along, not having a clue how better to use the windfall.

  14. Robert Woolley

    Hi David,

    Interesting news to those of us on the other side of the Irish Sea! The unions within the UK which are also mainly within the public sector are making noises over here. Its not clear where its going – but like Ireland, it looks as if there will be trouble ahead in the GB public sector…

  15. shtove

    Has anyone seen this short vid on the demise of the Celtic Tiger, from 2006 by the Renegade Economist?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLGygoQQnzs&feature=related

    Is there a longer version available?

  16. Stephen Kenny

    Malcolm
    I find it an interesting argument that the state sector has done, and is doing, a good job. They have their share of blame for the insane economic bubbles that have plagued us for the last 10-13 years.
    There really is no such thing as a free market operating distinctly from the state sector. All economies sit within a huge web of regulation, created, and enforced by the state sector. Without clear regulations covering property ownership, for example, where would any civilisation have been? It would have been in a dark age, where might was right.
    Private companies – the direct wealth creators – operate within the regulatory framework, for the most part. Competition between profit motivated organisations guarantees that booms and busts will continually follow each other, and it is only really the regulatory framework that can impact the scale of these.
    It is not just the financial regulations that are relevant; zoning, employment regulations, tax law, immigration, landlord and tenant laws, and so on, all impact the scale and shape of the boom and bust.
    The buy-to-let explosion in the UK was enabled, created really, by the removal of a bunch of tenant’s rights laws, continued by lax banking capital regulations, and made completely mad by flawed bank lending staff remuneration deals.
    The insanity that’s gripped the US Investment Banking sector over the past 10 years can, to a large extent, be placed at the feet of those who repealed the Glass Stegall act, at the end of the 90s (for the non-nerds here, Glass-Stegall was put in place in the 1930s to make sure that the madness that kicked off the Great Depression, never happened again).
    Far from being not their fault, it would seem to me that it is exactly the poor quality of our state sectors that has helped cause the problems that, in the end, everyone will have to pay for. Of course, this is muddied by political interference.
    The regulatory framework that’s in place is wrong, bad, and it needs to be fixed. We have hugely complex regulations, and I suspect that a much better thought out, much simpler, framework, is where we’re going. To use a horrible cliche, we need to work a lot better, not harder.
    By the way, in no way do I view the banks as ‘innocent’ in all this, but just as it was with Enron, it’s going to be difficult to find laws that they have actually broken, or even bent, to any worthwhile extent. Fundamentally, the Enron guys were done for ‘lying’ (in al sorts of ways) and if we start nicking people in the public-eye for lying, who knows where we’ll end up……..

  17. Malcolm McClure

    Stephen Kenny said “I find it an interesting argument that the state sector has done, and is doing, a good job…..it would seem to me that it is exactly the poor quality of our state sectors that has helped cause the problems that, in the end, everyone will have to pay for.” –advancing his arguments in a reasoned way.
    I just want to point out that I only said they ‘had a lot to be content with.’ No political system is perfect and what we’ve seen recently is the best Ireland has produced since statehood.
    Regarding regulation, almost by definition, water bailiffs can never quite outsmart the poachers, who are motivated by a totally different mindset.
    As in any game, there are people who get their kicks from bending the rules. Others, who have been carefully educated to abide by rules, are initially no match for them. In time they catch up and the miscreants are moved on, to prison or to a different caper.
    A few years back I watched, aghast, most of the televised Mini-CTC hearings. They gave a great insight into the naiivity of leading politicians when confronted with the machinations of big-time international players like Denis O’Brien. The culchies were obviously out of their depth and the hearings were summararily curtailed for fear of damaging people’s reputations, through some totally obscure reference to the Abbeylara case. The panel were all good men but the miscreants outsmarted them at every step. I hope RTE still retains tapes of the hearings as they form an unique insight into the naiive, rather than venal, political mindset at the height of the boom.
    Public servants are selected largely for academic ability rather than commercial nous. They are good at making rules, and writing memos, but they’ll never make a billion like Denis O’Brien. Evidently the boom was just a lucky break that got out of control –through nobody’s fault.

  18. Stephen Kenny

    Malcolm said “They are good at making rules, and writing memos, but they’ll never make a billion like Denis O’Brien.”

    Of course I have to agree. But it is not the job of politicians or state employees to be as competent as top industrialists, just as referees don’t have to be good footballers, but they have to be able to understand and interpret the rules in such a way that the game runs smoothly and fairly. In the instance you quoted, the error was for the politicians to accept the debate at all – it sounds to me like a very successful PR stunt by Denis O’Brien.
    The fundamental point is that the civil administration is there to look after the greater good of our country. It’s always going to be a balancing act, and be full of moving targets. Of course, the most aggressive will always be testing the boundaries and the rules. The importance of the regulatory framework can be judged by the enormous effort that people like Denis O’Brien put into lobbying the politicians and civil servants. A weak civil administration results in a country run, effectively,by ‘Robber Barons’.
    History is full of this stuff: What was a ‘weak king’ if it wasn’t a weak civil administration? Why was Rome successful? The Hittites? Assyrians? Eqyptians? Persians? Britain? OK, these are vast and controversial topics and I’m hopelessly ill-qualified to really pontificate, but fundamentally, they all had effective civil administrations, which meant that they had a basic set of rules that balanced the good of the individual, with the good of the many, and were able to enforce them, usually in rather brutal ways.
    The prosaic, and rather sad, truth, is that civilisations and countries succeed because they have good civil services: the real ‘Wonders of the World’ weren’t just the great buildings, but were equally the civil administrations that enabled.

    So you might say that it is the ‘job’ of the Denis O’Briens of this world to get “the most, for the least”, from not only his workforce, but also from the government (tax breaks, subsidised everything, easy planning etc), and it is the ‘job’ of the politicians and civil service to make sure that the ‘people’ get as good a deal as they can, without scaring off Denis O’Brien, or driving him into bankruptcy. The state is a moving target for Denis O’Brien, and Denis O’Brien is a moving target for the regulators.
    To me, not only that is just as it should be, each trying to improve their position, but it also highlights the extra difficulty for the civil administration: Denis O’Brien simply has to focus on himself, whereas the civil administration has to focus on both sides. If one side is too weak, you end up with either a socialist state where no one really has anything much, or a ‘gilded age’ where a few are very rich at the expense of the many.
    Me? I’m for balance. My reading of things is that we don’t have it, I look around and see a gilded age descending upon us.
    Sorry, I don’t agree, our civil administrations have let us down.

    Clearly, I have too much time on my hands!

  19. Tim

    Hi, David.

    “Profits up, wages down!” … has been the mantra among the ruling class in Ireland throughout the celtic tiger era; but money was cheap to borrow until recently and that covered the cracks for alot of people while the purchasing powerof their wages dropped by design.

    Successive pay agreements have tied ordinary workers into beneath inflation pay “increases”, as well as “no-industrial-action” clauses. This renders trade union members virtually powerless.

    Note all the talk of recession and pay restraint whenever new pay talks/national agreements talks are in the offing?
    Note all the blaming of the public service pay bill for the country’s fiscal difficulties?

    Let’s examine that, briefly:

    Let’s say I am a public servant; a teacher, a nurse, a garda.
    Let’s say I earn €50,000pa (I know, most of them don’t get near that, at least not for many, many years on the longest salary scales in the OECD; but the figure is just to make the maths easier for me!).

    About half fo that goes STRAIGHT back to the boss/paymaster/government/exchequer coffersin PAYE and PRSI. (So, I really cost €25,000 in salary, unlike the private sector boss who des not get my tax out of the gross paid to me.)

    Now, I buy petrol at the garage to get myself to and from work; the exchequer takes 72% of the money I pay for the fuel. The remaining 28% of my spend at the garage goes to slaries, profits, taxes on profits and salaries, PAYE, PRSI, Employers’ PRSI, rates and water charges, etc.; so most of THAT goes back to my paymaster/exchequer coffers too.

    Then, I go to the supermarket and spend my net salary on food, etc., and the path back to the exchequer continues. I buy cigarettes and almost all of that money goes back; have a pint in the evening and most of that goes back;

    See what is happening to the salary the government pays the government employee?

    Since most of it goes back to the coffers it came out of, why is the salary bill of the nurse/teacher/garda/public servant blamed for high government spending and why woud anyone refuse them a pay increase that, really, costs them next to nothing?

    Ask a private sector employer if they would envy the position.

  20. Garry

    Not at all sure I see your point Tim. yeah, the public servant gets paid and pays tax. Apart from defined benefit pensions (a huge perk I know) they pay the same tax as the private sector employee.

    Look at it like this….
    That 50k (or 25k) has to come from somewhere. If its a private sector employer, they have to bring money in to pay for it. And to be fair, for private sector there can be grants/tax breaks for some of the money for employee wages ………. again a subvention by the taxpayer. If its a commercial semi state likewise the company charges for its services; in some cases these also have some income in the form of a subvention by the taxpayer for providing a social/public service.
    If its a public sector employee, the money comes from the taxpayer. By definition unless your tax is greater than your pay/pension, and you actually work a second job to subsidize your public service, a public sector employee is a net cost to the taxpayer.

    Now most public servants do good and necessary work, but any responsible government must balance its books and ensure they get value for money. Whether its giving tax breaks to private employers or directly employing people.

    I think what any private sector employer would envy is the ability to control revenue by raising prices (taxes) and being able to predict the impact.

  21. Tim

    Garry, I am sorry that you missed the point. Most of the 25K is returned too.

    Private sector employers do raise their prices, but they don’t get back any of the wages they pay.

    The Government gets back nearly ALL of the wages it pays by the route explained above.

  22. Garry

    OK Tim, now I think I understand your point (but I don’t agree with it)

    If I understand you correctly, your point is “Sure isn’t all of my tax and NEARLY ALL of my after tax wages going back to the government so why shouldn’t the government give me and other public servants a decent pay rise, it costs f*** all” I assume from the earlier posts you are a public servant, sorry if this isn’t the case.

    First I dont agree that —NEARLY ALL— of your after tax income is going back to the government. Sure, you pay more than 50% tax on cigarettes, booze and petrol but VAT is either 0, 13.5% or 21% on all the other stuff like food, clothes, cars, holidays etc etc, the rest of the money you pay goes to the producer, merchant and various middlemen. You may save some. Some stuff like mortgages even give you (and me) tax relief. And yeah, there are stealth taxes, and those middlemen pay some taxes. But overall I am pretty certain that far less than 50% of your after tax money is “returned to the government”………. You would need to spend 90% of your wages on petrol, cigarettes and alcohol to pay more than 50% of your take home pay back to the govt.. So unless all public servants are long distance commuters/nascar fans who chain smoke and drink themselves into a stupor, a pay rise will result in significantly more NET tax having to be collected. Yes you are correct that it will result in a slight increase in tax receipts but not enough to cover the increase.

    Second, Lets not argue whether 15% or 55% of the after tax money is returned to the government. The point is it no matter what the % is it will cost us… The money used to pay these wage increases has to come from somewhere. A NET transfer of money in taxes, fees, profits/dividends from commercial semi states or borrowing must occur to the government to pay for the public sector. Whether an individual is a net contributor or a beneficiary, the taxpayer (yes you included) pays your wages. So the taxpayer will need to find more money. OK, so if they give you an extra 5k, you may argue its only costing them 50 euro, I might argue it costs an extra 6k (when you factor in existing pensions) but it costs the taxpayer something.
    And yes, I fully agree with your point that if it was a private sector employer, the extra 5k would have to come from the employers pocket, with none of the increase going back to the employer.

    Which brings us to Third, lets see what impact a pay rise will have on the wider public. Public servants shop in the same supermarkets/stores/barbers/garages/travel agents etc as their fellow private sector citizens. A pay increase for public sector workers will result in them having more disposable income, resulting in more price inflation pressure on goods and services (The private sector will charge as much as they can for stuff). This will result in prices increases for all with more demands for increases in wages across the board.

    Fouth On private sector raising their prices. Absolutely the private sector will screw as much money out of their customer as possible. But the key word is — as much as possible — . If I feel my pub/shop/solicitor/garage etc is overcharging me I can go somewhere else. I HAVE to pay taxes at whatever rate the government set.
    Now you can argue that all shops/barbers/pubs increase prices and its hard to shop around… thats true but we actually pay a bunch of public servants to prevent this.
    But lets consider companies who export. (mostly private sector) These are the guys who actually power the economy……. the net contributors to Ireland Inc….. Their prices to the end customer have already increased due to the strong euro and also they are competing with low cost economies such as India China etc. And international customers have even more freedom to go somewhere else to get better value.
    ——— If we lose these guys, we are screwed. ————

    So while we may differ on how much it costs the govt to give an extra 10% to some civil servant, the actual principle that its actually costs the taxpayer nothing doesn’t add up. If that was the case, we should put 100% of the people in the public sector.

    What you are describing is the economic equivalent of a perpetual motion machine.

  23. Stephen Kenny

    Modern economies are about people/organisations creating goods and services, and trading them for goods and services with other people/organisations.
    It was someone like Keynes who pointed this out:
    You buy a pair of shoes in a shop (€100), so you have the shoes and the shop have some money; The shop buys some shoes from the wholesaler (€80), so the shop has some shoes (to sell) and the wholesaler has some money; The wholesaler buys some shoes from the factory (€60), so the wholesaler has shoes and the factory has some money …… the leather tanner buys a cow hide from a farmer (€10).
    The entire process adds €90 to the value of the leather, and you’ve got your nice pair of cheap shoes. Every person in this supply chain is adding value, each person is doing a different bit of the process, which is a division of the labour involved in you getting your new shoes.
    The more value that is added at any stage, the more the people at that stage get paid. This is what a modern economy is all about. Dolphins, however cute, don’t have division of labour, so don’t have a modern economy.
    But, this process relies on an infrastructure, that includes laws, roads, pavements, traffic lights, schools, sewerage works etc, and the means to enforce and maintain the infrastructure: police, teachers, road menders, sewerage workers etc. These people do not add value to any of the chains, but these state workers we like, as we can clearly see how they help us add value: teachers teach the people who work in the factory, police stop the payroll thieves, and so on. The value of state workers to the economy is, in practice, variable, and can very easily become political.
    The person at the top of the tree adds no value through the process of buying the goods (although they may add value to get the money to enable them to buy the goods), they merely pay for the value added by the shop.
    So to argue that paying state workers more doesn’t cost anything, is faintly absurd.

    The question is always, how many non-value add people can any economy afford (let’s build some more roads), how many non-value add people can an economy not afford not to have (let’s sack all the teachers), and given the options, how do we want to organise that? If the value add chains in an economy contract, we can afford less money for state workers.

    Economies are obviously hideously complex, which is why people like David have jobs. A good state sector is one which enables the value-add sector of maximize their value add, while enabling the people to live enjoyable, pleasant, and entertaining lives (which you might say is really about education rather than time off and more doctors, but that’s just another matter of opinion).

  24. B

    Police don’t stop the payroll thieves. White collar workers get away with most of their stealing.

  25. coldblow

    Stephen

    I agree with your comments on this topic but your last bit about “enjoyable, pleasant and entertaining lives” sounds a little too much like Brave New World. I’d add the adjectives “fulfilling” and “meaningful”!

  26. Stephen Kenny

    coldblow
    I look around me, and I see the ghost of Aldus, clipboard in hand, slowly ticking boxes on a list…… only a few to go now……

  27. Tim

    Lads, Public sector pay for Nurses, Gardai and Teachers went down (relative to inflation) during the boom. Purchasing power went DOWN, not up.

    David McWilliams knows this very well – read the 1998 “Fitzpatrick Report to An Taoiseach” and you will see that benchmarking and social partnership were the mechanisms used to “reduce the public sector pay and pensions bill”.

    A teacher’s starting salary is about 33k now, after a prerequisite University degree PLUS a post-grad qualification.

    How many private sector jobs pay that badly for that level of qualification? Can you name any?

  28. Tim

    Stephen,
    Teachers teach the future factory OWNERS/EMPLOYERS as well as the workers, nurses, gardai; nurses bring back to health the current and future bosses and workers and teachers and Gardai; Gardai protect the current/future bosses, workers, teachers, nurses…… and the politicians!

    When are we going to start appreciating (and paying WELL) the most important people in our society (not just an economy, not just “Ireland Inc.”)

    I am rather sick of all this ignorance and “business-speak” applied to everything.

    The commodification of health, education and safety is disgusting. “The haves and the have-nots; a distinction!”, as Joyce said.

  29. Garry

    Tim
    Call center work pays far worse and the prospects are worse… Computer programmers or other IT workers often start on less, depending on market conditions and company. These have people at least as well qualified as teachers and are looking over their shoulder at India all the time.

    Yes with teachers there are difficulties with them starting off…. they often seem to have to work temporarily for years before landing a permanent job… I’d put this down to the fact that once permanent, a teacher can take a career break for many years and then have the right to return to their job. I think theres a good few f***ers in the dail depriving young teachers of permanent jobs. But it suits both the union and the older teachers to keep things that way.

    Its annoying that the only people I know these days who harp on about qualifications these days are teachers…. A few years in college and the oul bit of paper doesn’t guarantee any of us anything these days Im afraid.

  30. “Tim said,

    on August 14th, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Lads, Public sector pay for Nurses, Gardai and Teachers went down (relative to inflation) during the boom. Purchasing power went DOWN, not up.

    David McWilliams knows this very well – read the 1998 “Fitzpatrick Report to An Taoiseach” and you will see that benchmarking and social partnership were the mechanisms used to “reduce the public sector pay and pensions bill”.

    A teacher’s starting salary is about 33k now, after a prerequisite University degree PLUS a post-grad qualification.

    How many private sector jobs pay that badly for that level of qualification? Can you name any?”

    My daughter is highly qualified academically and works for one of the most prestigious (non govermental) institutions in Ireland and her salary is less than the figure you quote.
    New entrants in this workplace are on an even worse agreement, with regard to pension entitlements etc. The private sector is becoming two tier-just as the private sector versus the public sector is opening another chasm in society, wages, work conditions, pension entitlement etc.
    I know public sector retired workers whose pensions are so large(and increase with every new agreement) they cannot even spend the money.A few of them spend their retirement on world wide golfing holidats and so forth with millionaire life styles. These were heretofore teachers, prison officers, ESB employees, and mid ranking civil servants.!
    FiannaFail/ Bart Ahern bought an election with undeserved and unprecedented pay rises to a huge swathe of the electorate under a phoney exercise called “Benchmarking”
    The day will come when that Mugabe-style handout will come back to haunt the nation with its overhang of unpayable pensions and unsustainable taxation on the weaker workers in the private sector

  31. Gilbert

    Tim,

    Your claim that the purchasing power of public servants deccreased during the boom requires some sort of objective support. Any of the figures I’ve seen quoted in the media suggest that since benchmarking public sector pay has easily outstripped that in the private sector.

    “A teacher’s starting salary is about 33k now, after a prerequisite University degree PLUS a post-grad qualification.

    How many private sector jobs pay that badly for that level of qualification? Can you name any?”

    Sure I can. Analytical scientist for one, where a 4 year science degree and one year postgraduate diploma merits an entry salary in the mid to high 20s. From what I know postgraduate engineers can expect the same sort of money.

    “Teachers teach the future factory OWNERS/EMPLOYERS as well as the workers, nurses, gardai; nurses bring back to health the current and future bosses and workers and teachers and Gardai; Gardai protect the current/future bosses, workers, teachers, nurses…… and the politicians!

    When are we going to start appreciating (and paying WELL) the most important people in our society (not just an economy, not just “Ireland Inc.”)”

    No one denies that many public sector employees work tirelessly and efficiently in roles vital to the national interest. But for every nurse manning the cancer ward there’s a gobdaw who thinks strike action is an appropriate response to an argument over who changes lightbulbs. For every junior doctor working 100+ hours a week there’s an idiot who, when asked to wheel a sick child to theatre, asks for the matter to be referred to his shop steward. For every unarmed guard who confronts an armed robber there’s a train driver who shuts down services in and out of our second city over an issue with training rosters. Partnership, in it’s failure to deliver the efficiencies & productivity promised, has allowed this situation to fester. The premise behind the original benchmarking deal was a pay disparity and a talent flight from the public to the private sector, none of which was ever proven. Those of us footing the bill for this are entitled to a lot better, and to say so isn’t ignorance or business speak.

  32. Stephen Kenny

    Tim

    If you read what I wrote a little more carefully, you might notice that I put the teachers on the side of the angels, along with the Police, road menders, and sewerage workers. Without any of these, life would become impossible, and so would wealth creation. Teachers do not create wealth, they enable others, potentially, to do so.
    Judging state sector pay is always difficult. A private company can judge someone’s pay by the value of what they’re doing. If pay gets too high, the company goes broke, if it’s too low, the competitors pinch all the good staff. This isn’t possible for the state sector, except at the national level where, if the state sector taxes too much, the tax payers go broke, and if they pay too little, no one applies for the jobs.
    The only point I was really making was that there is a national budget, there is a limit to the taxes that can be levied, so the ‘because we’re worth it’ argument is actually quite irrelevant, at the national level. Teachers might be worth more than police people, and they might not. That’s a social judgement, and I suppose that’s why we have governments etc.

  33. Tim

    Gilbert,
    Kieran Allen’s book, “Celtic Tiger: The Myth of Social Partnership” succinctly presents all the objective research to support my point. However, the Government and media spin on this issue has succeeded in convincing most people that “public servants” are a type of parasite. How many timesdo we hear and see people in the media speaking about pensions as if public servants get them for free? I have to pay for my pension for 40 years! (as does every public servant I know). But I have to endure these people telling me I get something for nothing. Then, the likes of Mary Harney, constantly referring to us as the “non-productive sector of the economy”; it is outrageous!

    Stephen, I understand…. and agree to a point. I am trying to generate as much debate/discussion about the issue as I can, just to counter-act all of the really negative spin out there.

    When I look at what my two children’s teachers do for them, day in, day out; when I saw what the nurses and doctors did for my wife when she was in hospital for surgery; when I look at friends of mine who are gardai being threatened in the past with blood-filled syringes and one of them holding his partner as he died in his arms having been stabbed by a thief in O’Connell Street……….. I just cannot, in conscience, sit by while some people treat these as if they are some kind of “burden” on the economy.

    As if they have somehow hoodwinked the taxpayer, the government, the country in social partnership/benchmarking into giving them high salaries.

    This is simply NOT TRUE.

  34. Stephen Kenny

    Tim
    Putting all state sector workers into one basket is of little use. Some are vital, some are very important, some are important, some quite important, and so on down to the full-time pencil-sharpeners employed, metaphorically, by very important civil servants and politicians.
    Over the past 10 years, the economy has been enjoying a virtuous spiral based mainly on debt, and slightly on US multinational companies (MNCs). The presence of the MNCs is based on very low corporate taxes, and a global virtuous spiral, based, mainly on borrowing.
    Unfortunately, the return on the borrowed capital has been half of nothing since it was not deployed in building productive companies (which is a good reason to borrow), merely in building new houses (which is a bad, or at least much less good, reason to borrow).
    During that lovely spiral, every boat rose with the tide, which included the tax-take, so lots of money was suddenly available for the government to spend. Most people in the state sector got excellent pay rises, the argument being parity with the private sector (except the investment bankers – no one gets parity with them).
    This net borrowing couldn’t go on forever, and it has now started to go into reverse. Loads of articles about ‘deleveraging’ and so forth – ‘paying debts’. Unfortunately, two things have happened: Firstly, the scale of the borrowing has been beyond sense and reason, enabled by a series of interlocking dodgy financial services features to do with risk – basically they based it on the idea that ever increasing debt is perfectly possible. Secondly, because it’s been going on for 10+ years (some argue 25 years, globally), many western economies (US, Spain, Ireland, UK, mainly) have actually restructured themselves around this hopelessly flawed model.
    So here we are today, in the beginnings of a negative spiral: borrowings fall, spending falls, tax-take falls, spending falls, and so on and so on. At the same time as this is happening, the economy needs to restructure itself into a more productive structure, which, ideally, needs a lot of money. Unfortunately, no one has any money,which includes the money lenders.

    The question will be, how can we cut government expenditure, or perhaps, where can we cut government expenditure? They could try and increase taxes, but that taxes money out of the wealth generating parts of the economy at the time it’s most needed. If they tax MNCs they run the risk that they, who are under financial pressure from falling world markets, will just up-sticks and move to Czech Rep, or somewhere cheaper.
    I happen to believe that education is key to any country’s future, but you argue that with a family relying on state benefits, they need the money to eat and keep warm, and they need it now!
    And finally, are you prepared to take a pay cut of 10% when the benchmarked private sector pay has fallen 10%?

  35. Tim

    Stephen, I would be willing to take a pay cut if I were not already barely living hand to mouth.
    It is a LIE we have been told that public sector workers got high pay increases through social partnership and benchmarking; even those that did receive small increases were rising from such a low base that it made little difference (2% of nothing is nothing).

    I once had a 10% pay cut just because a student in my class died of a brain tumour and this reduced the DES’s little “colour-by-numbers” threshold of “bums-on-seats”, so my extra (numbers based) €3000 pa was no longer warranted in their view; I still had to continue to perform the extra duties attached, but got a pay cut. (My extra duty was as ICT manager of a 56pc network, including purchasing, technical support and maintenance – ever heard of €3000 pa for that job?) Silly.

    Today, I have a family to support and could not take a pay cut without losing our home – so, NO; I am NOT prepared to take a pay cut of 10%, having been working for a much lower salary than my private sector counterparts for 19 years. If that happens to me again, I will give up my lofty ideals of contributing to society and being a good example to my children, become a “me Fein-er” and enter the private sector with my skills for the money alone.

    Bechmarking is a joke and, actually, to me, it is a dirty word!

    The simplest, but clearest, most stark proof of this is:

    Research the salary of a public sector nurse and that of a private sector (agency) nurse and you will see the difference and maybe, finally, agree with me.

  36. Tim

    By the way….. I have been speaking, at all times, about public servants, not civil servants (coccooned in offices away from people).

  37. Garry

    Tim, If you are unhappy in your job, believe you are being taken advantage of believe you can have a more rewarding life (you decide what rewarding is), stop complaining and go for it. However, Look very carefully before you decide to jump, the grass isn’t as green on the other side as you seem to think, these days plenty of people would like to make the jump in the other direction.

  38. Stephen Kenny

    Tim,
    Broadly, the government will have to cut spending, whether anyone likes it or not, it’s merely a matter of what they cut. Politicians being what they are, you can expect them to cut the important stuff, and leave the nonsense be, generally.

    Agency nurses pay is directly linked to state employed nurses pay, it’s higher by definition: Whatever a state nurse gets, an agency nurse gets more, or they wouldn’t go the agency route. An agency nurse lacks the protections, pension, regularity, and usually holiday pay, that a state nurse receives. Also, of course, it’s a job that requires specific, if very simple, qualifications, and has poor career prospects – generally, nursing doesn’t attract academically a very high standard of people. I speak as an ex-full time carer, 5 years, during which time I came across a lot of nurses, doctors, and myriad health workers, and lost my reverence for the entertainingly titled ‘health service professionals’.

  39. Tim

    You guys seem to have succumbed to the Thatcherite spin we have been fed over the years. Down with society, up with Ireland Inc.

    I give up.

  40. Garry

    Have a look at this Tim, http://www.independent.ie/national-news/thousands-of-jobs-lost-as-courses-snubbed-1457757.html
    Demand for science, IT and engineering courses is down compared to teaching. Could it have anything to do with salaries and job security? 31k for engineers (4 wks hols, defined contribution) vs 33k for teachers (4 months hols, defined benefit)

  41. Tim

    Ok…… one last try, since you mention engineers and teachers’ salaries (teachers have to contribute to their own pension to.)

    Engineers salaries, see here:
    http://www.irishjobs.ie/ForumWW/SalarySurvey.aspx?SalarySurveyID=406&BannorID=&BZoneID=0&ParentID=75&CID=16

    Teachers’ salaries on the DES website here:
    http://www.education.ie/servlet/blobservlet/teacher_scales.htm

    Compare at 2 years’ experience, 4 years, 10 years, etc………

    The comaparison is clear.

    Please do not misunderstand me……. I believe teaching is a great job; In fact, if it was paid properly, it would be the greatest job in the world. It is very rewarding to deal with “human beings instead of tins of beans”, just not financially so.

    Just fighting my corner in an economic climate where media spin and lies are convincing people that such a profession is a kind of burden or parasite on the economy. Eoighan Harris in yesterday’s Indo isthe latest to refer to the public sector as “unproductive”.

    I do not know what your careers are, Garry and Stephen, but I am sure you would take offense at being called unproductive.

  42. Garry

    Tim,
    I don’t think I have ever said teachers etc are parasites on the economy. All I’ve said is that money has to be found to pay them, the supply of money is reducing and students are voting with their feet, whether they are showing wisdom beyond their years or whether their parents are telling them to get a good steady job is a different matter.

    Your not comparing like with like… I haven’t had time today to look at how teachers salaries grow over time, I imaging its well defined, serve X years get Y more……. but I would point out to you on engineer salaries…. Most engineers migrate to different jobs within a few years, certainly in the area I’m in very few graduates these days want to stay technical.., they want to follow the money and fair play to them.. In order to get that money, you need to convince someone you’re ‘worth it’, the best way to do that is move. There is absolutely no such thing as a salary scale or career path for the majority of people in the game. Ive had the pleasure of being told the company I worked in was shutting down by seeing a production forecast with a 0 for the Dublin location. And that was with a good company that treated its employees right by private industry standards. Saw much worse going on a few years later which I cant go into…. Unpaid overtime is a given as is seeing senior guys replaced with younger, hungrier, brighter and above all cheaper people, A company I know well for has a policy of getting rid of their bottom 10% every year. And the building sites were full of IT grads after the dot com crash who had been in “permanent” jobs. Having said that, I’m happy enough, its as good a job as you can have these days, better than most.

    Whether teaching is a bigger/better/more important job/career or not doesn’t really matter.. In companies, good salespeople are often the highest earners, because they bring the money in… often more than the people who design build or market the products. without revenue the company dies, it doesn’t matter how productive or hardworking everyone else is. Its not fair but thats the way it is.

    The pension remark is that your pension is defined benefit. You know exactly how much you will be paid after 65. I on the other hand only know how much I contributive and am at the mercy of the scum who run the pension funds. True, we both pay but only one of us is getting a pension. As I get older those things and the holidays are more important, but Im sure its not all a bed of roses teaching. Fair play to you for fighting your corner.

    I don’t care what someone calls me these days, but if the guy paying the bill thinks I’m unproductive, then I have something to worry about.

  43. Gilbert

    Tim,

    “Kieran Allen’s book, “Celtic Tiger: The Myth of Social Partnership” succinctly presents all the objective research to support my point. However, the Government and media spin on this issue has succeeded in convincing most people that “public servants” are a type of parasite.”

    Having heard plenty of Kieran Allen and what he has to say, I’ll save myself whatever it is his book costs, thank you very much. You could do us all a favour by repeating his succinct case here, I’m sure he’d thank you for it.

    “How many timesdo we hear and see people in the media speaking about pensions as if public servants get them for free?”

    In my experience, never.

    “When I look at what my two children’s teachers do for them, day in, day out; when I saw what the nurses and doctors did for my wife when she was in hospital for surgery; when I look at friends of mine who are gardai being threatened in the past with blood-filled syringes and one of them holding his partner as he died in his arms having been stabbed by a thief in O’Connell Street……….. I just cannot, in conscience, sit by while some people treat these as if they are some kind of “burden” on the economy.”

    http://www.esatclear.ie/~garda/honour.html

    There is no record of any member of An Garda Siochana dying in the line of duty in the circumstances you describe. Spin and lies indeed Tim.

    “I once had a 10% pay cut just because a student in my class died of a brain tumour and this reduced the DES’s little “colour-by-numbers” threshold of “bums-on-seats”, so my extra (numbers based) €3000 pa was no longer warranted in their view; I still had to continue to perform the extra duties attached, but got a pay cut. (My extra duty was as ICT manager of a 56pc network, including purchasing, technical support and maintenance – ever heard of €3000 pa for that job?) Silly.”

    Having asked some teacher friends of mine about this scenario, it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. As I understand it if a school loses a pupil bringing them below the threshold, then a member of the teaching staff is lost. Existing staff do not have to accept a pay cut.

    “Today, I have a family to support and could not take a pay cut without losing our home – so, NO; I am NOT prepared to take a pay cut of 10%, having been working for a much lower salary than my private sector counterparts for 19 years. If that happens to me again, I will give up my lofty ideals of contributing to society and being a good example to my children, become a “me Fein-er” and enter the private sector with my skills for the money alone.”

    I’d have to say that you don’t have lofty ideals as much as you’ve had your head in the clouds for a very long time. If you’ve gone the best part of twenty years forgoing the chance of a better salary because you view the private sector as the dark side and the profit motive and personal ambition as morally dubious then it’s no use blaming benchmarking because you’re now only a fraction of your salary away from losing your house. To be honest, as a private sector worker, I take the implication that I am greedy, self centred and not contributing to society as much as public sector workers rather insulting.

    Ultimately it’s the private sector that pays the salaries of our guards, the salaries of our nurses and, Lord help us, Kieran Allen’s salary up in Belfield. Self interest and the public good are not mutually exclusive, and the latter could not be financed without the wealth generated by the former. You could arguably have served the public interest a lot better all these years by earning more income taxable at the marginal rate. Lofty ideals are fine, but they won’t build cancer wards by themselves.

  44. Tim

    Gilbert….. Jeez! Don’t you have children at school?

    Ask your “teacher Friends” about what is called a “temporary Special Duties Teachers Allowance” and see what they say.

    Most teachers are female, anyway, and do not even know what their salary is, because their husband has a REAL salary and they do not have to worry about money.

    I know female tachers on less than 40k pa who live in Foxrock – (the REAL Foxrock, like Brighton and Torquay Road)….. ENOUGH!

    If you reckon that teaching is a better job for you, please, come and join us – we need you! Very few men enter this profession (many apply for the courses, but move on, when they see the salary, to journalism, PR, HR, etc., with the communication skills the teaching/arts degree gives them.)

    You, too, can start on 33k pa and have 4months holidays a year!

    We need you!

    Will you do that?

    Will you do that AND join me in championing the cause of the educator?

    You decide.

    But be careful: The reality is most teachers work for free for one year

    work part time for 10-15 years

    spend 15 years trying to earn the same pa as thir counterparts in the private sector

    and …….. never become wealthy.

    If lucky with a supplementary income ( which gets rid of the “holidays”), can support their teaching habbit and become ” comfortable”.

    Clearly, I am not finished with you guys yet……… but that might just mean that I am too tenacious for my own good!

  45. Tim

    You don’t, Really have any friends who are teachers, nursers or gardai……… do you?

    They are too poor for you.

  46. Gilbert

    Tim,

    No, I don’t have kids.

    “Ask your “teacher Friends” about what is called a “temporary Special Duties Teachers Allowance” and see what they say.”

    I’ll ask. But by definition I’d imagine it’s temporary, so maybe you shouldn’t have been suprised when yours was cut.

    “Most teachers are female, anyway, and do not even know what their salary is, because their husband has a REAL salary and they do not have to worry about money.”

    So can we add female teachers to the list of workers not pulling their weight in society? I mean if they’re not earning a REAL salary they musn’t be doing a REAL job, and if they can’t even read their own payslips………

    “I know female tachers on less than 40k pa who live in Foxrock – (the REAL Foxrock, like Brighton and Torquay Road)….. ENOUGH!”

    “You, too, can start on 33k pa and have 4months holidays a year!

    We need you!

    Will you do that?

    Will you do that AND join me in championing the cause of the educator?

    You decide.

    But be careful: The reality is most teachers work for free for one year

    work part time for 10-15 years

    spend 15 years trying to earn the same pa as thir counterparts in the private sector

    and …….. never become wealthy.

    If lucky with a supplementary income ( which gets rid of the “holidays”), can support their teaching habbit and become ” comfortable”.

    Clearly, I am not finished with you guys yet……… but that might just mean that I am too tenacious for my own good!”

    What is your point Tim? That teaching is a challenging profession that doesn’t pay enough? You hear barristers making the same argument. That I should join the teaching profession? Sorry, but I made my career choices, and I’m happy with them. Not that there’s a shortage of people applying for teaching courses, so no, I don’t think you need me in particular. That you’ll never become wealthy? Well cry me a river and join the 95% of us that facing into a similarly bleak future. For someone motivated by lofty ideals you’re fixated with luchre more than most. Most of us are unmoved at the thought of female teachers living it up in Dublin 4, and fewer of us would know where the REAL Foxrock is. For some reason, this has you calling out ENOUGH!

    If you’re feeling that tenacious, maybe you could cross-check that story about the Guard dying on O’Connell St?

  47. Gilbert

    BTW Tim, I pay my rent to a teacher, and have paid rent to Gardai in the past. Even with the current state of the housing market, it’ll be a while before I’ll own my own place. Make of that what you will.

  48. Tim

    Gilbert,
    You think that is ok?

    I am on your side, yet, you oppose me?

    My fight is your fight.

    I do not have to re-check my friends’ thing on O’Connell St.,

    My friend had a 6 month suspension after that, because he was upset and hit a few “perps” more than the PC crowd thought he should.

    After a further 6 months psychiatric assessment, he was allowed to work and earn money for his family.

  49. Tim

    Gilbert……. You are, obviously, a very good person;

    Otherwise, you would not be here…. On DMc’s site, or engaging in conversation with ordinary PLEBS, like me.

    What if the private and public sector workers started “feeding” and helping eachother and promoting our salaries instead of running eachother down? Like the Government asks?

  50. Tim

    You CANNOT compare the salary of a teacher with that of a barrister!

    You don’t get away with that – the differential is about 1000%.

    That is not allowed in a discussion.

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