Damien Kilberd's article in today's Sunday Times (link unavailable) points out that civil service employment numbers have stabilised in recent years under the austerity programme but with large numbers of civil servants retiring to the gold plated pensions payroll,that is equivalent to an increase in employment numbers.
This raises the question of why employment numbers haven't decreased in austerity. Retirements must be at least 3% of the workforce,assuming an average 33 year career,while the numbers quitting voluntarily must be at least another 1 to 2% (private sector turnover is probably 10% plus). If the government ban on recruitment was applied,presumably the civil service would have dropped by about 8 to 10% in the past two years.
My take on these numbers is that public sector unions successfully blackmailed the government into the Croke Park agreement by refusing to cooperate in allowing transfers between departments and other productivity measures that would allow the civil service to function on reduced numbers. What is the evidence following the Croke Park deal that the government now has that cooperation? I await this with bated breath!