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Sunday 25 August 2019

Public servants' pay rising faster than private sector

Stock photo
Stock photo

Anne-Marie Walsh

The average public sector worker's wages rose almost twice as much as a private sector employee's pay packet in the last year.

New figures reveal that average weekly earnings in the public sector increased by 2.7pc in the 12 months to September this year, compared with a 1.5pc rise in the private sector.

This meant public sector earnings went from €917.62 a week to €942.55, or €49,182 a year. The wage hike in the private sector pushed wages from €642.99 to €652.51 a week, or €34,047 a year.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said the earnings growth in the public sector could be "partly attributed to wage restoration" from April this year.

These pay increases were given to public servants by the Government on the back of a €50m deal for gardaí to get them to call off a strike last year.

Further increases were also given under the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

The earnings hike was not due to working more hours as there was no change in the average hours worked in the sector in the same 12 months, which remained at 32.7.

In contrast, there was a slight fall in private sector paid hours of almost 1pc from 32.6 to 32.3.

Gardaí had the highest average earnings of €1,322.32 a week - or €68,998 a year - across the public sector.

Those employed in the education sector had the highest hourly earnings of €39, but worked the lowest number of hours, at just 24.

The Defence Forces - currently campaigning for better pay - enjoyed the largest rise of 11pc in average weekly earnings, increasing from €807.84 to €900.01 (€46,962 a year).

The figures also reveal that the number of people employed in the public sector rose by 2.5pc over the year from 382,900 to 392,600. Overall, average weekly earnings rose by 1.7pc from €702.69 to €714.41 (€37,277 a year), a similar increase to the previous year.

Highest

The highest average weekly earnings of €1,078.64 (€56,283) were in the ICT sector, followed by the financial, insurance and real estate sector at €1,001.

Staff in the accommodation and food services sector had the lowest average weekly earnings or €344.08 (€17,954 a year).

Workers in the administrative and support services sector had the biggest increase in earnings of 6pc, to €553.10 a week (€28,860). The biggest drop was in arts, entertainment and recreation, where pay fell 2pc to €457 a week.

Meanwhile, 2,131 days were lost due to three industrial disputes between July and September this year.

The rows involved 876 workers, including crane drivers, locum doctors and staff at Kerry Ingredients.

The number of days lost was a big drop on the same period last year when 14,270 days were lost.

However, the CSO said the figures were an estimate.

It said data relating to the crane operators' dispute should be treated with caution as it was unable to quantify the number of firms that were involved in it.

So far this year, 43,858 days have been lost due to industrial action by more than 5,500 workers involved in eight disputes.

However, the figures do not include a row over a pay rise at Irish Rail that led to two days of strikes earlier this month.

Irish Independent

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