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Nurses Pay - Symptom of Deeper Problems

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The central issue in the nurses dispute is not that they may be paid too little but that other people get too much, too easily.

For example, the Taoiseach and his cabinet are amongst the best paid in the world; unjustifiably high fees are charged by many sheltered professions offering critical services; price gouging is widespread amongst many local private and public services; house prices are set by an unholy alliance of builders and bankers with predictable results; wage inequities have intensified due to continual use of percentage increases under successive national agreements which, in addition, have mainly applied to the public sector; and superfluous tax reliefs have ensured that people who should pay the most tax can actually pay the least.

The net result is that competitiveness has declined alarmingly and consumer price increases are amongst the highest in the world. The remedial action is straightforward - hold back wages and prices.

The starting points could be benchmarking mark two which must roll back the first one and more; the next national wage agreement must deliver absolute rather than percentage increases; the income tax system must be rebalanced to ensure that the higher rate applies to all higher incomes; meaningful powers must be given to regulators and the Competition Authority; and, most critically, the next Government must be willing to play hard ball with vested interests in the national interest. Predictably, none of these actions feature in election promises.

Letter published in the Sunday Business Post on 15th April 2007.

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This page contains a single entry by Brian published on April 13, 2007 5:07 PM.

When the Wind Doesn't Blow was the previous entry in this blog.

For Richer or Poorer is the next entry in this blog.

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