Public servants 'to get just two pay rises a year' to reverse cuts
Public servants may get fewer pay rises next year if the Government agrees to reverse cuts for recent recruits, the Taoiseach has warned.
Leo Varadkar has given the first indication that the Government may take a hardline approach with union demands for equal pay for new entrants in the Budget.
He indicated that State employees may get a smaller wage boost than they expect over the course of the current three-year pay deal to fund the axing of the two-tier system.
Mr Varadkar said €400m was earmarked for pay rises next year
"Maybe by agreement we can recalibrate that in some way so that more of that goes to the new entrant public servants, those who were approved after 2011," he said.
He said this year a lot of public servants would get three pay increases: two small 1pc pay rises and an increment.
"Maybe instead of three pay increases a year for everyone it might just be one or two and we could give the extra money to the newer entrants to allow them to be equalised sooner," he said.
He told the Working Group of Committee Chairmen that he would not like to see the money to address the pay disparity taken out of funding for services.
He said he could understand why two colleagues in a school staff-room would have a problem with being on different scales.
It would cost €200m to reverse the cuts that mean over 60,000 public servants hired since 2011 get lower pay during their first two years.
The Government faces the threat of industrial action by teacher unions if the issue is not resolved.
A spokesperson at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform would not say if it endorsed the Taoiseach's stance.
Separately, recently appointed senior Government officials are demanding flexitime that is enjoyed by their longer-serving colleagues.
The Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants has lodged a claim with an internal disputes body on behalf of up to 100 members.
Flexitime allows some civil servants to start and finish their working day at times that suit them.
However, flexitime was axed for new assistant principal officers five years ago.