Saturday 23 September 2017

Kenny will capitulate to unions over early pay talks

Taoiseach Enda Kenny Photo: Tom Burke
Taoiseach Enda Kenny Photo: Tom Burke
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is preparing to capitulate to the demands of the public sector unions and bring forward talks on a renegotiated pay deal, the Sunday Independent has learnt.

Two senior Cabinet ministers said it was now inevitable that public sector pay talks would begin soon.

Major industrial unrest was signalled last week when Siptu president Jack O'Connor threatened to ballot his 60,000 members if ministers did not pledge to begin talks by the start of February.

The Lansdowne Road Agreement is not due to expire until September 2018 and it was expected that talks on a new deal would not begin until late next year. However, unions are furious at what they saw as a breach of the agreement after the Government accepted a Labour Court recommendation securing a €50m pay deal for gardai.

A senior minister last night warned "the genie is out of the bottle" and said the Government was reluctant to "go to war" with the public sector unions given the fragility of the current administration.

Another minister said it was time to "accelerate" negotiations to appease the demands of the unions.

"I don't know if talks begin in exactly February but it's about sitting down and agreeing parameters and agreeing the process," the minister said.

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Paschal Donohoe will this week bring a memo to Cabinet on a possible timeline for the new pay talks.

Sunday Independent

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