Taoiseach Kenny hinted in recent days that the public sector unions do not have an entitlement to jobs for life,possibly signalling that the government would resort to dismissals of their workers.To meet Troika dictated savings on pay,the government may be forced to use compulsory redundancies of up to one in twelve employees of the civil service.But it could avoid those redundancies if it could get the pay savings through long overdue cuts in civil service pay which is still 48% higher than the private sector average according to the latest CSO figures.
However,many unions threaten to engage in work to rule and strikes to prevent pay cuts. Working to rule is difficult for managers to discipline,so the government probably would have to give managers arbitrary powers of summary dismissal of workers who are not giving "an honest day's work for an honest day's pay". Hopefully,the threat of using such powers and of compulsory redundancies would induce enough fear in the civil service to prevent industrial action in the first place. Unlike private sector workers who learn to live with the ever present fear of being sacked,civil servants who generally put a very high value on jobs for life would be terrified by that fear.