From Tom Lynch

Diarmuid Doyle's article in last week's Sunday Tribune is along the lines of what most public servants have being saying since the present economic crisis began. He states correctly that not that long ago people in the private sector were sniggering at public-sector workers in 'dead end jobs'. I wonder if the change of heart by some in the media arises from the fact that many of the general public broadly supported the one-day public sector strike. Maybe it is beginning to dawn on people that forcing down wages is not in the interest of workers be they public or private sector. If the public-sector employees and their unions are not involved in a constructive and partnership manner in the overall solution then we might all be better off to wait for the IMF to come in and sort matters – something I believe will never happen. A bit like the bogeyman story that was told to children long ago. (Scare them so that they will do what they are told).

Tom Lynch,

Oak Park,

Ennis, Co Clare

From Tommy Tighe

AS a public service worker I will never forget 2009. In the past year, my pay was cut 7%, my pension fund was raided and over half of the funds in it were given to AIB and Bank of Ireland. I have had to take on increased work hours due to the recruitment ban and the government cancelled our pay deal unilaterally (passing legislation to exempt itself from the normal labour relations procedures applicable to such an action).

By the time the weekend rolls round, I am too exhausted and skint to do anything except stay at home and read the Sunday papers which characterise me as both underworked and overpaid. They complain about my job security even as they demand I be laid off. It is clear that some parts of our national press would like to abolish the public service entirely and replace it with seven dwarves who will "work all day and get no pay".

Public-service sacrifices so far have been greeted with nothing but howls for more. A proposed further 5% cut is derided by the national press as a cave-in by the taoiseach. When private sector workers are given unpaid leave this is called reduced hours, but when public service workers are threatened with unpaid leave this is called holidays. The constant narrative being that something is being taken away from private sector workers while something is being given to public service workers regardless of what's happening in the real world.

Finally, I am aggrieved that there is constant reference to public-sector pay levels whenever there are calls for public service pay cuts. These are two overlapping but distinct groups and it is not fair to quote the pay figures of the public sector when negotiating further pay cuts for the public service. We cannot give the government what we do not have.

Tommy Tighe,

Grove Park, Dublin 6