Monday 20 November 2017

Deal on pay is set to pass with Siptu backing

Siptu wields the biggest voting power with 719 votes. (Stock photo)
Siptu wields the biggest voting power with 719 votes. (Stock photo)

Anne-Marie Walsh

A draft deal that would boost the wages of most of the country's 300,000 public servants by more than 7pc is set for a safe passage, as the largest union is expected to back it this week.

Sources revealed that the agreement between unions and the Government, which will end most of the cuts imposed during the financial crisis, is edging towards a clear majority as Siptu members are almost certain to vote in favour of it.

If accepted, the three-year deal will give State workers a series of pay rises and ease a pension levy that was introduced eight years ago.

Unions holding a majority of the 2,892 votes allocated to the members of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions' Public Services Committee would have to back the deal for it to be accepted.

Siptu, which has the largest membership, wields the biggest voting power, with 719 votes, while Impact, which has already accepted the deal, holds a 606-vote weighting. That is a total of 1,325 between the two unions.

With their backing, just another 122 votes would be needed for the deal, which would extend the Lansdowne Road Agreement, to be accepted.

Despite a setback when the deal was overwhelmingly rejected by the Irish National Teachers' Organisation, there has been a surge in support.

Members of the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants, which has 32 votes, have voted in favour and the more militant Civil, Public and Services Union, with 128, has recommended that its members endorse it.

The agreement, which was brokered last June, will cost taxpayers €880m over three years and €1.1bn over the course of four years.

Economist Colm McCarthy has warned that its cost will have to be subtracted from what is available for other purposes in the Budget.

However, most public servants will have to make a higher pension contribution on a permanent basis. A pension levy, which they are already paying, will be converted into this contribution, either in full or in part.

Irish Independent

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