Thursday 24 August 2017

Siptu urging members to vote for new public sector pay deal

SIPTU (Stock photo)
SIPTU (Stock photo)

Ian Begley

Trade union Siptu is urging its members to vote for a new public sector pay deal on pay and pensions.

Its appeal comes after more than 20 organisations reached a deal with the Government recently on a pay agreement to follow the Lansdowne Road Deal. 

The deal will allow for the pay reductions, introduced to deal with the economic crisis, to be restored for all civil and public servants earning less than €70,000 by 2020.

According to Siptu, the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018–2020, has more positive elements than negative ones. 

"Having considered the matter in full, we have decided to recommend acceptance of the proposals, on balance, as the benefits, such as the protections against outsourcing in particular, as well as other positive elements, outweigh the potential for what might be gained by running the risk of rejection," said the National Executive Council of SIPTU.

If its members  accept the deal, the trade union said it will "vigorously pursue" implementation of all elements of the proposals.

"In particular, we will insist on full implementation of Clause 4.1.3. which envisages a process to satisfactorily resolve the issue of pay for new entrants," it added. 

The union will ballot its 70,000 members between July 3 and August 9, with the votes being counted on August 10.

Trade union Impact, which has 60,000 public service employees, is also asking its members to back the draft deal.

The agreement will also see public sector pensions put on a more sustainable footing by ensuring that public servants, except for the lowest paid, make a permanent additional superannuation contribution.

This will apply in different ways for different groups, with those who will receive the most valuable pensions paying the most.

The total cost of the agreement is about the same as the previous deal (Lansdowne Road Agreement), at €887m for the next three years.

It means the lowest paid civil and public servants will receive pay rises of almost 7.5pc between now and 2020, with those on higher salaries receiving just over 6pc.

The agreement recognises that without public servants, there can be no public services, and recognises, also, the huge contribution those working in the civil and public service have made to the improvement in our public finances and our economy.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said it will reveal its position on the deal next week. 

However, the organisation's call for special financial incentives on recruitment and retention problems, were not provided in the agreement.  

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) deferred stating its position "amid rising concerns about a recruitment and retention crisis for doctors".

Dr Ann Hogan,  president of the IMO, said: “We can’t divorce the debate about the pay agreement from the crisis in retention and recruitment for doctors. 

"The agreement fails, in its current form, to adequately address this issue and in the absence of substantial proposals, it is not realistic for the IMO to reach a conclusion on the merits or otherwise of the pay agreement.”

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