Friday 20 January 2017

Two more unions could ballot for strikes if a 'waffling' Government fails to act on talks

Anne Marie Walsh

Published 29/11/2016 | 02:30

Liam Doran of the INMO warned: ‘The clock is ticking'. Photo: Arthur Carron Photography
Liam Doran of the INMO warned: ‘The clock is ticking'. Photo: Arthur Carron Photography

Two more public service unions are set to ballot for industrial action if the Government refuses to commit to new year talks on pay rises for their members.

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Unite and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) are the latest to issue the threat, after Siptu warned it will authorise ballots from this Thursday without agreement to negotiations by February 1.

Siptu members in the health, education, local authority and state industrial sector could begin balloting within two weeks.

The Civil, Public and Services Union will today also discuss its strategy after some of its members called for ballots.

The unions' calls for talks to accelerate "restoration" of the €2bn pay cuts suffered during the financial crisis were made after gardaí were offered a €50m deal.

They warned demands for talks will "come to a head" following a Cabinet meeting today.

The Government is expected to discuss the unions' demands for further pay rises than have already been promised under the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA).

General Secretary of INMO, Liam Doran, said the clock is ticking as unions wait for the Government's decision on talks.

"I don't think any union in the public service can accept the timeframe that's already there," he said.

"From the INMO point of view, the scenario makes it absolutely a requirement that there has to be acceleration. In the absence of that, we will certainly be looking to take action to secure that."

Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said his union will put arrangements in place for ballots if the Government is "waffling" and fails to agree to open negotiations before the Public Services Committee meeting next week.

The Government has set aside €290m for public sector pay rises agreed in the LRA next year, but must find €50m to fund the deal being balloted on by gardaí, which would be paid from January 1 if accepted.

Irish Independent

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