Thursday 14 December 2017

Paschal's gamble on public pay peace deal

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe Photo: Tom Burke
Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe Photo: Tom Burke

Anne-Marie Walsh

A major new report to advise the Government on its strategy at public sector pay talks has been criticised for dodging a number of key issues on wages and conditions.

The Public Service Pay Commission has offered Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe a blueprint for buying industrial peace, with pay hikes and protection of final pensions.

Mr Donohoe is likely to agree to pay rises, which have been slated at around 2pc a year, as part of the new deal to extend the Lansdowne Road Agreement. The public sector pay bill is worth over a third of Government spending, and stands at €16.4bn - so a 1pc pay rise would cost €164m.

Most public sector workers are also expected to face an increased employee contribution to retain lucrative pension benefits worth between 12pc and 18pc more than private sector workers.

But the commission failed to tackle the key issue of job security enjoyed by public servants - noting that it "has value", but failed to specify what that is.

Business groups also criticised it for failing to provide more specific figures on the gap between public sector workers' and private sector employees' pay.

Mr Donohoe is now expected to use the report as the pathway to a deal at talks due to begin shortly. He insisted that this would not represent the opening of an "ATM".

Irish Independent

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