Sunday 20 August 2017

Bring talks on reversing cuts to workers forward, unions tell Government

Liam Doran of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation Picture: Tom Burke
Liam Doran of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation Picture: Tom Burke

Anne-Marie Walsh

Public sector union leaders called for early talks on the recovery of pay cuts suffered during the financial crisis in the wake of the report.

They noted that the report said "there is a basis for the parties to enter into negotiations for a further collective agreement to extend the Lansdowne Road Agreement".

The Public Services Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) highlighted the pay commission's findings that there is now near parity between average public service pay and private sector earnings. It also noted that average public service earnings are currently 8pc lower than in 2008.

The committee said it anticipated the commission's finding that public service pensions are, on average, more valuable than the average available in the private sector.

It said it also predicted that it would find pay negotiations should address this in the context of the unwinding of the pension levy that was imposed under emergency legislation.

"We welcome today's publication of the report of the Public Service Pay Commission which, among other things, provides a good summary of the sacrifices public servants made in the years following the economic crash," said a spokesperson.

"It's now time to move swiftly into negotiations with a view to accelerating pay recovery for workers whose incomes are significantly lower than they were nine years ago.

"Our priorities in the talks will be to restore incomes as quickly as is sustainably possible, and to protect the value of retirement incomes."

He said public servants currently pay over 20pc of their earnings above €28,750 towards their pensions. He said this figure takes account of pension contributions, PRSI and the pension levy.

Meanwhile, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said the report confirmed the recruitment and retention problems facing nursing and midwifery.

It said it anticipated that the commission was not in a position to make any specific recommendations in relation to the remuneration of particular groups of staff.

But it said it was imperative that the recruitment crisis is comprehensively examined when talks begin.

It said it would join with other unions to seek restoration of pay cuts and to protect the value of retirement income at talks.

INMO general secretary Liam Doran said the talks must deliver an increase in pay, in the form of parity with other health professionals, "to ensure Ireland competes, with other countries, for the scarce resource of nursing and midwifery".

Irish Independent

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