Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described as deeply troubling and a warning sign of things to come the shock decision of South Tipperary County Council to scrap the Bonus Scheme entitlement for its outdoor staff which has been in place for almost fifty years.
Deputy McGrath was speaking after the staff was informed on Friday evening without any prior consultation that the scheme would cease; the reason given was that since North Tipperary County Council have no such scheme in place it was deemed inappropriate in light of the upcoming merger of both Councils to continue the scheme in South Tipperary.
“This is an appalling indication of the management style which is likely to continue after this merger occurs. It was a unilateral decision by management and the HR department that did not give an ounce of consideration to the vital role played by the outdoor staff who are essentially the frontline workers in terms of maintenance, engineering, road works, flood defences and so on. The outdoor staff does not earn a great wage and this scheme was a huge incentive in terms of productivity and workplace morale all of which is now threatened by the dismal failure of senior management to fight for the well-earned and hard won entitlements of its own staff. Many of the outdoor staff could not have obtained mortgages without this scheme being in place and they have come to depend on this payment which is given every fortnight to support their families.” said Deputy McGrath
North and South Tipperary were among the authorities that the 2010 Local Government Efficiency Review Group report recommended should have joint management arrangements. While it is expected that the merger will see an integration of administrations and service delivery, there are also huge concerns for the employment levels in both authorities with numbers likely to be reduced in some shape or form.
“Again and again the irony seems to be lost on Minister Phil Hogan who is driving these so called reforms that his policy of putting people first is having the exact opposite effect. This cut and the manner in which was implemented are indicative of the growing disregard for the ordinary council worker who is expected to give more and more for less and less while not even receiving the minimal courtesy of proper engagement with their unions having taken place. I am calling on South Tipperary County Council and the Human Resources department to immediately engage with the workers and their unions and reverse this attack on the wages of its own staff,” concluded Deputy McGrath.