The Government last Thursday commenced its negotiations with the social partners. First in were employers' representatives who were given the gory details of the unhealthy state of the economy. They indicated to the media that they were looking for wholesale job cuts in the public service. A day later trade union leaders were meeting with Taoiseach Brian Cowen and were given the same story. Outside the meeting they indicated that the question of pay cuts were a non-runner.
Elsewhere the belief is that the Government has no option but to impose, if agreement is not reached, significant pay cuts across the public service. Both Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan have since made it clear that the Government will take whatever action is necessary to allow the economy to recover.
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