Sunday 20 October 2019

Individual unions to get pay cut opt-out

Fionnan Sheahan and Katherine Donnelly

THE Government is planning to bring in wide-ranging legislation to implement cuts in public sector pay – but individual unions will have opt outs from sections of the package.

Unions that cut a side deal will be able to tailor the package to the specific requirements of workers in their ranks.

The move throws up the prospect of workers in the same sector having different terms and conditions applying, depending upon their union membership.

In particular, unions have made different demands around how increments will be cut for their members.

Depending upon the make-up of the workers in the sector, there are three different ways of applying the freezing of increments.

Unions that fail to negotiate an agreement with the Coalition under the Croke Park II deal will find their members subjected to the basic package set out in the legislation.

Government sources say the agreements are with individual unions, rather than unions as a whole, so there will be different elements in each deal.

PROGRESS

The legislation will effectively be over-arching for the entire public sector, but will allow for opt outs in certain areas by particular unions.

Talks are continuing with a number of unions in a bid to reach agreements.

Teachers' unions entered talks in the Department of Education last night armed with strong mandates for industrial action in the event that the Government imposes cuts in pay or conditions unilaterally.

Public Spending Minister Brendan Howlin's officials last night said progress was continuing to be made across a number of sectors. Although an artificial deadline of today does exist, Coalition sources say this is unlikely to be met.

Irish Independent

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