Monday 22 January 2018

Former Labour Court boss to head up pay body

Former chairman of the Labour Court Kevin Duffy. Photo: Doug O’Connor
Former chairman of the Labour Court Kevin Duffy. Photo: Doug O’Connor

Niall O'Connor and Cormac McQuinn

The former chairman of the Labour Court Kevin Duffy has been appointed chairman of the new body tasked with examining public sector pay.

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe is to bring a memo to Cabinet which will formally establish the new public sector pay commission.

The commission will examine all issues surrounding public sector pay as the country braces itself for a winter of industrial action.

Mr Duffy also heads up the water commission.

He and his team are due to report back to the Government in the Spring on the shape of any new pay deal beyond the Lansdowne Road Agreement, which expires in September 2018.

The establishment of a new commission was agreed by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil as part of the confidence and supply agreement.

Fianna Fáil's public expenditure spokesperson Dara Calleary said it is important the commission begins its work as soon as possible and that it is wholly transparent.

He also said the commission must look at issues such as entry pay to the public sector.

The news of the establishment of the new commission comes as the Government braces itself for widespread unrest.

Secondary school teachers are due to begin their strike action next week.

Rank and file gardaí and sergeants and inspectors have also decided on a course of industrial action.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald brushed off questions about any contingency planning for strikes.

"I want to find a negotiated way forward and that's my focus at present," Ms Fitzgerald said.

"There were areas of common agreement in recent weeks.

"I want to build on those and attempt to find a negotiated way forward, a pathway that will satisfy the members of the GRA and AGSI."

The Fine Gael minister said she believes Gardaí should have access to the industrial relations dispute resolution mechanisms of the State.

"I have discussed this with both the GRA and AGSI that An Garda Síochána would have access to both the Labour Court and Workplace Relations Commission," she said. "I'm committed to ensuring that happens."

Irish Independent

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