Wednesday 17 January 2018

Pay claims will be a ‘ticking timebomb’

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

Anne-Marie Walsh

The chief State industrial relations mediator has warned the incoming government it will have to deal with a “slow ticking time-bomb” as public servants seek more pay rises.

Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission, Kieran Mulvey, said the new administration will have to decide how it will manage its pay policy as the Haddington Road Agreement ends.

He said the government will have to cope with pay restoration for the “myriad of grades” that exist among the 300,000-strong workforce.

The Haddington Road Agreement, which involved pay cuts for those earning over €65,000, an increment freeze and extra hours of work, runs until June.

However, the Lansdowne Road Agreement – an extension of the deal – has begun unwinding pay and pension cuts for public servants by up to €2,000 each.

It lasts until September 2018, but pressure to restore pay cuts totalling €2bn and to award pay increases is likely to build.

Fine Gael and Labour have refunded State employees up to €2,000 each – but Fianna Fáil has promised to repeal emergency legislation cutting pay over the next two years.

“What I’m saying is that sooner rather than later we have to begin to think about what the public service pay model is going to be in the future, as the agreement runs out,” said Mr Mulvey.

“My opinion is that the pressure will build on that agreement later this year, rather than next year.”

He said if 70pc of private sector employers are given increases, and the economy is improving, public servants are going to also ask that they get some recognition.

Irish Independent

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