During a period where the Government is facing strike action, or the threat of strike action, from various public bodies it is not surprising that another union has come out and said that it is gearing up for a battle to ensure that it's members get the pay increases that they believe they are owed.
The CPSU which represents approximately 300,000 public sector workers has just held a vote to see whether it's members would support holding a strike ballot and the support of such action has been overwhelmingly positive. It seems that the rank and file of the CPSU are in a fighting mood and they haven't been slow in saying where the inspiration for their potential strike action comes from.
When the Gardai threatened to strike some months ago and it was called off at the 11th hour due to the Government effectively caving in there was widespread agreement amongst political commentators that while the Government might have solved that particular issue they were just storing others up for later on. And when it comes to dealing with your employees you can hardly make one set of rules for some and an entirely different set for another.
Time and again the 'special' treatment that the Gardai received will be used by various unions when it comes to negotiating their own deals with the Government. The CPSU has already said that it has welcomed the fact that the Government has brought forward some of the clauses in their pay agreement with them but now is the time for the Government to 'get real' about negotiating a fair deal for it's members. In particular it wants to see the Government to roll back the 2 hours that their members work for free each week.
When it comes to making a rod for your own back it seems that this Government has gone out and picked up the heaviest and meanest stick that it could find when it agreed to it's deal with the Gardai. They will probably say that they had no choice. Everyone gets it, when it comes to industrial relations things can get very messy very fast but there always has to be, hopefully, an element of proportionality involved, a sense that while there might not be 100% agreement that people are being listened to and respected and their work valued. That is what everyone in the country saw happen with the Gardai so why would the Government expect any of it's other employees to expect anything different?