Impact: There can agreement on new public sector pay deal
THE main public sector union believes agreement can be reached at talks on a new pay deal but the government needs to show its hand on the cash available for wage hikes.
Speaking on the way into talks this morning, Bernard Harbor of Impact said the amount tabled would have to have "enough substance" to put a deal to ballot.
The government has already said the top limit on its spending is €200m next year but there are other demands on this other than wage increases.
Talks are set to intensify today as government officials are set to table proposals on the cash available for pay rises and an additional permanent pension contribution it wants its staff to make.
Key negotiators have said the fiscal space for next year is so tight that a 1pc pay rise would take up most of it.
When asked if a deal could be struck in the next 48 hours, Mr Harbor said: "We really need to see what money is available for any deal before I can really answer that question.
"That's what we need to get down to if not today, then certainly tomorrow."
He said figures must be presented to unions by tomorrow if they are going to strike a deal.
In addition, the government has to detail the additional pension contributions it wants most public servants to make by keep at least part of a pension levy imposed under emergency legislation in place.
General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, Liam Doran, said the government will have to find extra cash to address recruitment and retention issues among nurses.
"The government is going to have to use a wider lens and more imagination to reflect the labour market if it is to address all the issues that are still hanging out there," he said.
President of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, Antoinette Cunningham, said her members will "absolutely resist" any attempt to make those on fast accrual pensions pay more than other public servants.
Ciaran Rohan of the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants, Ciaran Rohan, said that there is an issue recruiting senior managers and salaries would have to be addressed.
"I think our members would be very unhappy if we were left behind," he said.