Sunday 26 January 2020

Public sector workers will know pay deal before election

Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expediture and Reform
Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expediture and Reform

Fionnan Sheahan

THE 300,000 workers in the public sector are expected to know before the next general election how much of their pay cuts, made during the economic crisis, will be restored.

Talks will begin next year on the restoration of public sector pay and pension cuts, made during the economic crisis, as the Coalition prepares for the end of the "financial emergency".

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin confirmed to the Irish Independent that some pay and pension cuts in the public sector will be reversed.

He said the talks will focus on what measures will continue indefinitely and what will be reversed.

The negotiations between the Government and the public sector unions are expected to be completed in advance of the next general election, due in spring 2016.

The most contentious moves were a pension levy worth an average 7.5pc and a pay cut of an average of 6.5pc to each public sector worker.

The Civil and Public Service Union said low paid public sector workers should have pay cuts restored fastest.

CPSU deputy general secretary Derek Mullen said his members are the lowest paid workers in the civil and public service, earning anywhere between €20,000 and €35,000.

"They deserve restoration in the first instance. They were promised restoration or at least a review to consider restoration under the Croke Park Agreement," he said

IMPACT head of communications Bernard Harbor said the reversal of pay cuts for so many workers would have a positive impact for the wider economy.

"I don't think anyone is expecting this can come back very, very quickly.

"But it's really important we get back on the road to income recovery now so that people's living standards improve, but importantly that they can also be spending that money and that means that the growth of the economy will continue because there will be more economic activity," he said.

Irish Independent

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