Tonight in Cork is the first of a series of meetings throughout the country sponsored by the four unions which walked out of the negotiations – CPSU, INMO, IMO and UNITE. Therefore, it is timely to examine the impact of the proposed pay-cuts on the local economy in Cork.
While we talk about the ‘economy’ we should realise there are hundreds of local economies throughout the country. People in Cork are likely to shop in Cork, not Cavan. The unemployed in the North-West will, in the first instance, try to get a job in their own locality. An area with a high elderly demographic reliant upon social protection pensions and relatively few people of working age is likely to be low-income, especially in rural areas where services are being cut.
So, if possible, it is useful to examine the data available for local and regional areas. On this basis we can make some estimates, though many of these are extrapolations and deductions. For instance, we know that the Cork-Kerry region has a higher GDP than the national average (as measured by gross value added). As a result, it has a slightly lower unemployment rate than the rest of the state.
We can also estimate that 18 percent of all those in work in Cork are employed in the public sector. That is a sizeable proportion – more than one-in-six. With the proposed pay cuts averaging out at 5 percent per employee, that is a considerable hit to the local consumer economy.
Working from what we know, and extrapolating from the national impact, we can estimate the following:
- Public sector workers will suffer an average cut of €2,300
- In Cork, there is a potential loss of up to €100 million in consumer spending. This will put even more pressure on local businesses as their turnover falls.
- There is a potential employment loss of up to 500 and more throughout Cork
- There is a potential employment loss in the private sector of up to 275
This is a substantial hit for the local economy. These impacts will be repeated in the hundreds of local economies throughout the country.
This shows that the proposed pay-cuts are both a national issue and a local issue, just as it is both a private sector issue and a public sector issue.
So come tonight to the meeting in Cork: Cork City Hall, 8:00 pm.