Deal on public sector pay
Public sector unions and management have reached agreement on pay and reform after two weeks of intense negotiations.
In a deal struck in the early hours of this morning, State employees will not be hit with any further pay cuts until 2014.
In return, unions have agreed to co-operate with a range of cost-saving measures that will reform delivery in the public service.
It is understood staff numbers will be cut, but without compulsory redundancies if staff comply with redeployment.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen welcomed the positive conclusion to talks, which were brokered by the Labour Relations Commission.
He said: "This agreement will provide confidence and stability in the public service to meet both current and future challenges and I hope that there will be a positive outcome to the ratification process. The negotiations were complex and both sides made very significant efforts to develop the terms of this agreement.
"It is my view that implementation of the measures in question would result in greater efficiency, better services for the citizen and more satisfactory working conditions for public servants."
Thousands of lower-grade public sector workers have maintained a work to rule for several weeks, with unions threatening an escalation of action - including work stoppages - over controversial Budget pay cuts. Staff were also angered after payments to senior management were reinstated.
The impact of the industrial action was felt most by the public at the Passport Office, where 50,000 applications are waiting to be processed. Mr Cowen said a shared vision for transformation in all sectors of the public service, and a path on how it is to be achieved, have been agreed.
"This agreement will ensure that together we can create a public service of which we can be proud and a public service which we can afford," he continued. "The agreement covers a range of important transformation issues across all of the main sectors of the public service including health, education, local government, justice, defence, the civil service and state agencies."