The first round of the public sector pay talks opened and closed this afternoon in just fifteen minutes.
This afternoon’s session is the first in a phase of talks between union representatives for 300,000 public servants and the Government, and today both parties laid out their opening positions.
The public sector workers are being represented by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions public service committee which is led by Impact’s Shay Cody.
Impact spokesperson Niall Shanahan said there was a positive atmosphere at the talks as the unions believe that today “marks a turning point”.
“I think everybody in the room could see the positive element of that,” Mr Shanahan told Independent.ie.
“It was expressed on the union side that given what has passed over the last number of years that this was a good day and a welcome turn of events that we were in a room and that we were beginning a discussion about pay restoration after seven years of retrenchment and wage stagnation.”
He said that Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin “explicitly stated that his preference is to reach a collective agreement, so today marks the beginning of that process”.
Adding: “Minister Howlin has expressed the view that he wants to do is achieve a collective agreement on this issue, You have to bear in mind that the Government could actually act unilaterally in this instance.
“They could move to change the legislation without consultation with any other party.”