In today’s Sunday Independent (2 Dec 2012) the piece, If Fianna Fail want power, it must kill its sacred cows contains a number of inaccuracies.
Public sector pay gap
Dan O’Brien from the Irish Times is quoted as saying
Average pay is 50 per cent higher in the public sector, according to Central Statistics Office data. This is usually attributed to higher skills levels in the public sector. If that were true, peer countries would have significant differentials. They don’t.
(NB I could not identify the source of this quote in the Irish Times)
Facts Are Sacred did a review of the research on the public sector pay gap last May. Firstly it was found that allowing for skills does, contrary to the comment above, reduce the gap. Research up to 2007 places it between 10% and 20% for full time employees –
no information is available for after that date (see correction re research to 2010 here).
Secondly, other countries do have a public service pay gap. ECB research from 2011 looking at the raw gap (ie not allowing for skill differences) found Italy and Portugal had larger gaps than Ireland, with Spain and Greece on similar gaps. Austria and Slovenia also had higher pay for public sector workers.
Lowest Public Sector Salaries
The article says
The lowest public sector wage is €35,000. But 80 per cent of private sector workers earn only between €20,000 and €40,000. Few have pensions. None have job security. As all public sector workers do.
In fact, a Dail question from Joanna Tuffy in January 2012 elicited the information that, on a whole time equivalent basis (based on a whole time equivalent figure of 300,000), in 2011 112,695 public sector workers earned under €40,000.
Looking at the CSO’s National employment survey 2009/2010 we find that a quarter of public sector employees in 2010 earned €31,360 or less.
80% of private sector on €40,000 or less
The CSO’s National employment survey 2009/2010also casts doubt on the figures given for private sector salaries. The report finds that 75% of private sector employees earn €44,149 or less. Thus a higher percentage cannot earn under a lower amount. Note that salaries in the private sector have not dropped radically in this time (CSO)
Killing Sacred Cows
The inclusion of inaccuracies of fact only serve to undermine the author’s argument. Perhaps Fianna Fail’s Sacred Cows should not be sacred, but facts ought to be.