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  • Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs: Colombia
    Foreign Affairs Colombia On 22 October 2014 I appeared before this Committee to ask them to use their influence to delay the ratification by Ireland of a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Colombia I was with my colleagues Peter Bunting of the ICTU and Aileen Morrissey of MANDATE both of whom were part of the delegation that included myself that visited Colombia in July of this year plus Jack O Connor of SIPTU who visited Colombia in 2010 The Colombian Ambassador had appeared before the Committee some weeks previously He conveyed a seductive and attractive message that went along the line of Colombia is coming out of a dark period of lengthy Civil War in which human rights violations occurred but we are moving beyond that We are addressing the issue of human rights and we are engaged in peace talks so to help us we need economic progress which would be facilitated by a trade treaty so that we can then continue our social progress As I say this is a plausible account on the surface at least However those of us before the Committee had visited Colombia and we had a different story to tell We had visited Putumayo where in May of this year the Colombian army had murdered 4 people including a 16 year old boy and where since we visited one of the people that we met had been murdered by the Army We had visited Buenaventura where right wing paramilitaries terrorise the population in cahoots with the armed forces despite the despairing efforts of the local Bishop We had also met the Mothers of Soacha whose sons were victims of a mass murder by state troops of innocent young men in order to claim guerrilla casualties Finally we had met union representatives

    Original URL path: http://www.pseu.ie/xxxx/oireachtas-committee-on-foreign-affairs-colombia.373.html (2015-10-30)
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  • Blog: Timeline of Austerity
    Service Holiday Travel Insurance Income Protection Plan Mortgage Arrangements Motor and Home Insurance Educational Support Scheme Health Insurance Advisory Service Hospital Saturday Fund Legal Services Membership Prize Draw Circulars Circulars 2015 Circulars 2014 Decentralisation Diversity Diversity Resources Publications Review Annual Report etc Union Rules Ictu Neri Newsletter About Executive Committee Videos Full Time Officials Annual Delegate Conference Membership Service Charter Info for Branches Justice for Colombia Putumayo Buenaventura Training Recruitment Toolkit PSEU Blog Latest News Agriculture Irish Lights Revenue Group Committee Sub Branches EC Members Standing Orders Committee Revenue Group Rules Contact Us Home The Public Service Executive Union represents Executive Grades in the Civil Service the wider Public Sector Search Blog Timeline of Austerity By scarabini Tuesday 21st October 2014 0 comments Timeline of Austerity The following is a list of just some of the austerity measures that have been imposed on Public Servants since the advent of the Financial Crisis 2008 Non payment of 2 5 pay increase due from efficiencies delivered in Towards 2016 2009 Introduction of so called Pension Levy a pay levy not in any way linked to pension or any other benefit 7 on average 2010 6 5 Pay Cut 2010 2011 Introduction of a disfavourable pension scheme for new entrants and introduction of low starting pay points for same 2013 Introduction of a number of measures including Introduction of pay cuts for those over 65k Disimprovement in overtime rates Introduction of unpaid additional working time Equivalent of 13 days per annum unpaid Disimprovement in workplace flexibility schemes These Public Service targeted austerity measures were introduced in addition to mounting costs that came from the introduction of the Universal Social Charge Property Taxes abolition of the Trade Union Membership tax credit and a number of other measures that drove down spending power and increased

    Original URL path: http://www.pseu.ie/xxxx/blog-timeline-of-austerity.371.html (2015-10-30)
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  • Reflections on the Budget.
    Recently I wrote a pre budget blog that asked whether or not we re out of the woods as a country It is interesting therefore to reflect on the comments therein in light of Budget 2015 Firstly nobody can be anything but pleased to note that we have after 6 tough years reached the beginning of the end of austerity This Budget due to improved economic circumstances puts 1Bn extra back into our economy but to put that in perspective it follows the extraction of just under 30Bn since 2009 Still it is undeniably a start So has the money been used wisely and fairly Well as ever it depends on your point of view Many middle income tax payers will benefit from the reduction in the marginal tax rate from 41 to 40 plus the widening of the tax band by 1000 Equally the introduction of a tax credit towards water charges will alleviate the impact on families However the various changes deliver an additional 1 7 to earners on 70k pa reducing to 1 5 for people on 45k pa and then a whopping reduction to 0 8 for somebody on 25k pa which has led NERI to criticise the outcome as a missed opportunity Other significant and in my view positive developments were the introduction of a new higher rate of USC for higher earners in effect a third rate of tax as long sought by trade unions and an even higher rate for high earning self employed thereby shifting some of the tax burden from PAYE which up to now has shouldered an unfair proportion 80 of income tax On a broader basis the graduated ending of the double Irish tax scam my word is to be welcomed It is to be hoped that it presages

    Original URL path: http://www.pseu.ie/xxxx/blog-reflections-on-the-budget.360.html (2015-10-30)
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  • Are We Out Of The Woods? Pre-Budget Thoughts
    growth for most of the rest of the world If we keep making mistakes with our economy leading to severe hardship it seems logical to me to suggest that we ought to learn some lessons I have written before to express my concerns that we have not learned from the mistake of indulging in cheap populism in narrowing our tax base nor from the consequences of allowing house prices to boom Now my fear is the general assumption that because we have weathered the worst we can go back to business as normal As somebody who predicted that 2014 would be better for our economy than the generally conservative forecasts I have to say that it was not because I have any unique insight but rather because it was clear that strengthening economic performance in the US due in large part to the application of classical Keynesian economics by President Obama and Chair of the Fed Ben Bernanke and in the UK had to have a positive impact on our small economy that trades so much with both and that in turn would improve consumer sentiment bolstered by lowering of interest rates and all against the background where we had proved to international money markets that we were a safe bet for lending So there is nothing freakish about our turn around However it is not safe to assume that growth levels will stay at the current height or that favourable international circumstances will continue to pull us up Just as our recovery has depended on factors largely outside of our control so too does its continuation Janet Yellan of the US Fed is beginning the tapering of quantitative easing in layman s terms that means printing extra money and that will lead to a rise in US interest rates It is to be hoped but it is by no means certain that this will improve European competitiveness so that the Euro zone can be pulled out of its sluggish growth However the ultra conservative German response to the currency difficulties would not fill one with enthusiasm nor convince that Europe will be able to take advantage The IMF says that there is a 30 risk of deflation in the Euro zone and a 40 chance of another recession in Europe Add in the possibility of the US electing a fiscal conservative after 2016 and that a potential return of a Tory Government in the UK will see a pre occupation with reducing the Government deficit and even potentially withdrawal from the EU and suddenly our economy is in a much less favourable position Even without these potentially damaging events the question to which nobody can give a coherent answer is whether Ireland can continue to significantly out perform the large economies with whom we share a currency This year our growth rate will be at least 5 of GDP while the Eurozone generally will come in below 1 the IMF forecast is 0 8 The Irish Government has limited

    Original URL path: http://www.pseu.ie/xxxx/are-we-out-of-the-woods-pre-budget-thoughts.358.html (2015-10-30)
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  • Blog: Paternity Leave
    Protection Plan Mortgage Arrangements Motor and Home Insurance Educational Support Scheme Health Insurance Advisory Service Hospital Saturday Fund Legal Services Membership Prize Draw Circulars Circulars 2015 Circulars 2014 Decentralisation Diversity Diversity Resources Publications Review Annual Report etc Union Rules Ictu Neri Newsletter About Executive Committee Videos Full Time Officials Annual Delegate Conference Membership Service Charter Info for Branches Justice for Colombia Putumayo Buenaventura Training Recruitment Toolkit PSEU Blog Latest News Agriculture Irish Lights Revenue Group Committee Sub Branches EC Members Standing Orders Committee Revenue Group Rules Contact Us Home The Public Service Executive Union represents Executive Grades in the Civil Service the wider Public Sector Search Blog Paternity Leave By scarabini Monday 6th October 2014 0 comments Families now have different expectations and changing parenting roles than previous generations The majority of fathers are keen to play an active role in family life We should support this better sharing of caring duties This statement made by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald last week is a very welcome sign that Ireland is more and more beginning to recognise not only just how far behind the rest of the EU we are in terms of family friendly policies but also that we are prepared to begin to play catch up Many European countries provide 1 2 weeks Paternity leave including the UK Denmark and Italy to name but a few Iceland provides three months such leave on 80 salary Ireland however has no statutory provisions at all for Paternity Leave While there have been no formal proposals put forward by the Government as yet Minister Fitzgerald has commented both on the standard type of Paternity Leave and on leave sharing arrangements between fathers and mothers There is much myth surrounding the provisions of spaces where Paternity leave does exist in Ireland In

    Original URL path: http://www.pseu.ie/xxxx/blog-paternity-leave.350.html (2015-10-30)
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  • ICTU Alternative Economic Policy
    Info for Branches Justice for Colombia Putumayo Buenaventura Training Recruitment Toolkit PSEU Blog Latest News Agriculture Irish Lights Revenue Group Committee Sub Branches EC Members Standing Orders Committee Revenue Group Rules Contact Us Home Lansdowne Road Agreement Services Workplace Representation Financial Services AVC s Death in Service Holiday Travel Insurance Income Protection Plan Mortgage Arrangements Motor and Home Insurance Educational Support Scheme Health Insurance Advisory Service Hospital Saturday Fund Legal Services Membership Prize Draw Circulars Circulars 2015 Circulars 2014 Decentralisation Diversity Diversity Resources Publications Review Annual Report etc Union Rules Ictu Neri Newsletter About Executive Committee Videos Full Time Officials Annual Delegate Conference Membership Service Charter Info for Branches Justice for Colombia Putumayo Buenaventura Training Recruitment Toolkit PSEU Blog Latest News Agriculture Irish Lights Revenue Group Committee Sub Branches EC Members Standing Orders Committee Revenue Group Rules Contact Us Home The Public Service Executive Union represents Executive Grades in the Civil Service the wider Public Sector Search Podcast ICTU Alternative Economic Policy By scarabini Wednesday 1st October 2014 0 comments ICTU Alternative Economic Policy PSEU members attended a presentation from Dr Tom McDonnell Nevin Economic Research Institute last night on the subject of the ICTU alternative economic policy Dr Mc

    Original URL path: http://www.pseu.ie/xxxx/podcast-ictu-alternative-economic-policy.348.html (2015-10-30)
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  • Global Solidarity Summer School
    annual ICTU Global Solidarity Summer School took place in Belfast this year The event gives trade union members a chance to come along and share experiences whilst being educated and informed of issues throughout the world Issues that generally don t receive front page attention Issues this year focussed on TTIP Disability and Development Free Trade Agreements the dangers of journalism trade and decent work and how Fairtrade fits into it all It was 27 hours packed full of dreadful tales awful shared experiences and inspiration Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon opened up conference by gladly proclaiming Belfast will be a Fair trade City for the 7th year in a row John Douglas President of ICTU spoke of an Economic system based on power and wealth He reminded us of the recent Oxfam report proclaiming that the richest 85 people have the same wealth as the poorest 3 5 billion http www theguardian com business 2014 jan 20 oxfam 85 richest people half of the world The Keynote address for the conference was provided by Susan George At first I thought the actress of the same name had turned activist but was glad to hear that it was political scholar providing the address http www tni org users susan george Susan reminded us that since Reagan Thatcher days the proportion of GDP going to Labour has reduced by 10 points Dividends have increased by 10 points Some people put it that the rich keep getting richer and the poor poorer Susan emphasised that there is an absolute co relation between equality and social wellbeing When it came to solutions it was suggested that there should be a cap on wages 20 times basic salary should be enough for anybody and we should democratise the economy have more worker owned businesses She then went on to discuss TTIP Transatlantic Trade and investment Partnership http ec europa eu trade policy in focus ttip about ttip We heard how this Partnership aimed at removing barriers will be one of the biggest threat to European democracies since the war There is an ISDS Investor to State Dispute Settlement Process which opens up companies to sue Government if it feels there national law goes against their trade This process will allows companies to go to arbitration rather than courts services and could lead up to privatisation or even a change in law in certain countries eg if a tobacco company doesn t like the rules around tobacco selling they will be entitled to go to arbitration and sue the government There will be a campaign to resist TTIP starting in September http ttip2014 eu After Susan s address there was a panel discussion featuring Michael Collins from NERI who spoke about 1 Measuring and reporting inequality 2 Self sustaining inequality and how when the wealthy have wealth further inequality divides as they pay people to increase their wealth 3 The challenge of inequality in that we must never forget the basics of poverty health education and

    Original URL path: http://www.pseu.ie/xxxx/global-solidarity-summer-school-.345.html (2015-10-30)
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  • Budgetary Priorities
    Ictu Neri Newsletter About Executive Committee Videos Full Time Officials Annual Delegate Conference Membership Service Charter Info for Branches Justice for Colombia Putumayo Buenaventura Training Recruitment Toolkit PSEU Blog Latest News Agriculture Irish Lights Revenue Group Committee Sub Branches EC Members Standing Orders Committee Revenue Group Rules Contact Us Home The Public Service Executive Union represents Executive Grades in the Civil Service the wider Public Sector Search Budgetary Priorities By scarabini Monday 15th September 2014 0 comments Should the government use any extra money it has in the budget to either invest in public services or give a tax cut This was the question posed in a recent Red C Sunday Business Post poll The answer given by the public was overwhelming with some 64 of people in favour of investing in public services versus 36 for the tax cut option Ireland has long suffered chronic underinvestment in public services If one looks at OECD statistics it is clear that Ireland spends far less than many other EU nations on for example healthcare Figures available from show that in 2012 the average percentage of public spend on healthcare as a proportion of total healthcare costs was just over 75 In Ireland it was as low as 67 6 and has been declining for a number of years This compares with 84 in the UK and 76 7 in Germany by way of example That such underinvestment now appears to be recognised by the public is a major signal that we are beginning to leave the Tiger mentality behind and look for something more sustainable Last week Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin commented that Ireland had broken the cycle of boom and bust Given that Ireland s boom to bust cycle can be traced back at least 250

    Original URL path: http://www.pseu.ie/xxxx/budgetary-priorities.337.html (2015-10-30)
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