No 'ATM' for public sector workers, warns Kelly
Published 22/05/2015 | 02:30
Workers need to "temper expectations" when it comes to the ongoing pay talks, the minister with responsibility for local government has warned.
Speaking at the Impact local government divisional conference, Minister Alan Kelly told delegates the talks were "not a way of basically re-opening an ATM machine".
He said the talks were a realistic way of reaching agreement between both sides, adjustments would be gradual with pay restoration done incrementally.
As reported in the Irish Independent, there are concerns that the €250m to €300m believed to be on the table would not be enough for unions.
Sources close to the talks have predicted the overall sum offered by the Government is likely to fall short of union demands.
Mr Kelly said the Government would go as far as practical - but realism was needed.
"As a Government, we're going to deal with this fairly but we're also going to have to be realistic," he said.
"The world hasn't changed, we're still living with the fiscal situation which has to be managed but certainly we will go as far as is practical, as far as it possible.
"We'll work with the unions but they have to be realistic. We want, in particular, to help and acknowledge those who have made a contribution and who are on the lower spectrum of pay, lower and medium spectrum, and they will be our priority, but we need realism here."
Mr Kelly said his Cabinet colleague Brendan Howlin would be "very fair and decent in trying to go as far as he can".