Dave Thomas (general secretary of the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants) argues that pay cuts for civil servants are ‘not the answer’ : the article is here.
Without having the time today to fully discuss this contribution, I will note the following sentence:
“First and foremost, public servants did not cause the economic crisis.”
This type of argument has been used by many interest groups to argue against expenditure cuts of various forms. However, it is also the case that ‘group X did not inflate the property bubble’ and the problem is that the windfall tax revenues during the bubble period allowed a rapid increase in public sector pay and many expenditure lines. The goal now is to restructure the economy and the public finances in order to undo the the adverse impact of the whole bubble-crisis episode and the relevant benchmark is not the level of earnings or public expenditure at the peak of the bubble but the appropriate levels of earnings and spending in order to ensure that Ireland can grow along a sustainable, non-bubble path.