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Unions back pay increases worth 6.5pc for 340,000 public servants – but they expect to be back in talks for a new deal next year

Chief negotiator Kevin Callinan said they will continue to closely monitor living costs and income pressures

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Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan.

Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan.

Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan.

UNION leaders vowed to closely monitor living costs today as they backed a pay deal review that means extra increases worth 6.5pc for over 340,000 public servants.

Chief negotiator and Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan said unions expect to be back in talks next year to secure pay terms when the current deal expires at the end of next year.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ (Ictu) Public Services Committee ratified a review of the current pay deal at a meeting this morning.

It met to consider the aggregate result of union ballots on the revised public service pay measures.

All unions affiliated to Ictu voted in favour of the proposals.

The pay deal will mean a lump sum is paid in the near future through a 3pc pay rise that is backdated to February 2 this year.

There will be a further 2pc rise from March 1 next year and 1.5pc or €750, whichever is greater, from October next year.

The extra 6.5pc of pay rises, agreed as part of a review of the Building Momentum wage deal, is on top of pay hikes worth 3pc that have already been paid under the agreement.

This means the total benefit for most public servants is 9.5pc over the three-year deal.

However, lower-paid workers will receive 12.5pc over the course of the agreement, according to Government documents.

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The extra pay rises will add €1.6bn to the €1.1bn cost of the original Building Momentum deal – bringing the total to €2.7bn.

Mr Callinan said a “strong showing” in favour of the pay deal reflects a recognition by workers that the pay measures will be a helpful support to people at a hard time.

“Unions do expect to be back to negotiations next year to secure pay terms beyond the lifetime of the current agreement, which will expire at the end of 2023, and unions will of course continue to closely monitor living costs and income pressures,” he said.

Arriving for the meeting in Dublin this morning, Mr Callinan said it was very clear that unions voted by large majorities in favour of the pay terms.

“I think in coming to that decision, what members took into account wasn’t just the pay revisions but also the measures that were announced in the Budget around taxation and around the cost of living,” he said.

“In the round, I think people decided it was fair. “

He noted the review clause in the agreement and said unions anticipate they will be sitting down with the Government next year to talk about pay.

Mr Callinan said ESRI projections for inflation are up from when the agreement was negotiated.

He added that workers could not bear the burden in the event of an economic downturn.

“They (talks) may be difficult, but I think employers are going to have to bear the burden of this,” he said.

“It can’t just be left to workers. What we’ve seen over the last 40 years is a huge shift in the wealth away from labour to capital. it’s totally unfair to expect the workers will bear the brunt of that.”

Meanwhile, Siptu Deputy General Secretary, John King, said today: “These are extraordinary times with high levels of inflation and resulting cost of living increases and, while these pay terms do not match these, they will go a long way towards providing real relief to Siptu members in the public service, and provide long-lasting improvements to their pay and conditions of employment.

“The Building Momentum agreement is now extended until the end of 2023. When taken in its totality it has, and will continue to, provide real benefits to members’ pay and conditions of employment, as well maintaining protections against the outsourcing of their jobs.

“Given that it has a short time span, it is anticipated that we will be back in negotiations in 2023 for a new public service agreement to commence in January 2024.”


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