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Monday 24 October 2016

Warning over return to Celtic Tiger wages

Anne-Marie Walsh

Published 23/04/2016 | 02:30

Kieran Mulvey of the Workplace Relations Commission. Photo: Tom Burke
Kieran Mulvey of the Workplace Relations Commission. Photo: Tom Burke

The state's industrial relations troubleshooting agency has warned the incoming government it may face a "general demand" from public servants to restore their pay to Celtic Tiger levels.

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It also says that finding a way to set their pay will be "the most critically important" industrial relations challenge facing the new government.

The Workplace Relations Commission, which was set up last October, says pressure for further increases in public sector pay is likely to emerge over the next three years.

The commission, headed by Kieran Mulvey, said although the Lansdowne Road agreement will reverse some aspects of pay and pension cuts and freezes "this is unlikely to be the end of the matter".

"In this context, government may have to face a general demand for a restoration of pay to pre-recession levels, and also to pay claims by particular groups of public sector workers seeking to be treated as special cases as the demand for public services grow or labour market pressures emerge in specialised employments."

It said the development of a new pay-fixing model will be the "pivotal challenge" in public service management and industrial relations up to 2019, and beyond.

"The WRC is committed to assisting in the resolution of what may be the most critically important human resource and industrial relations challenge facing the public service over the period of this statement," it said.

The commission's first strategy document also notes that the EU says there should not be more than a 9pc increase in labour costs over three years.

"As the economic recovery gathers pace without some oversight or monitoring, increases in Irish unit labour costs could come uncomfortably close to that threshold," it notes.

Irish Independent

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