Sunday 22 April 2018

Intense pressure to restore public sector pay

IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody Photo: Frank Mc Grath
IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody Photo: Frank Mc Grath

Anne-Marie Walsh

The new government faces intense pressure from unions to return public servants' pay to Celtic Tiger levels and grant new recruits the same wages as their colleagues.

The big sticking points on the industrial relations horizon are acknowledged in its new framework document - but there are few departures from the previous administration's stance.

It talks about the "gradual, negotiated" repeal of the emergency legislation that cut public servants' pay by €2bn during the crisis years and full implementation of the Lansdowne Road agreement "in accordance with the timelines agreed".

However, it has plenty of leg-room to change its stance as the pressure from unions to accelerate pay restoration will almost inevitably intensify in the coming months.

Union leaders have already won €2,000 of pay cuts back for individual public servants under the Lansdowne Road deal, but are demanding that wage restoration speeds up if economic growth continues.

The new framework document also pays lip service to the recent public rumpus among new recruits to the state sector over the two-tier system that means they earn 10pc less than their colleagues during their early years. In a new departure, the government commits to examine the issue of this two-tier pay system.

It says a Public Service Pay Commission will be set up to study wages across the public service, including entry levels of pay. But there is no detail on when it will be set up or report.

IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody welcomed the commitments but said he would reserve judgment until a government is in place.

Irish Independent

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