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Revealed: new salaries of top civil servants whose pay hikes beat inflation

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Minister Michael McGrath

Minister Michael McGrath

Minister Michael McGrath

THE most highly paid public servants’ wages will rise by more than €20,000 when cuts imposed during the financial crisis are reversed next week.

The reversal of the cuts imposed during the recession will actually see the public servants’ pay leap by more than the rate of inflation.

The annual rate of inflation suged to 7.8pc in May, according to figures published by the Central Statistics Office - the highest rate in almost 40 years.

Now senior hospital consultants’ pay will jump by 10pc or €22,972 to €252,150 a year, while the salary of the chief justice will increase by 8.9pc from €271,648 to €295,916, a €24,268 hike.

Official figures reveal that secretaries general of government departments will also receive pay rises of 8.9pc, bring their salaries to a range from €211,765 to €250,000.

The top grade of secretary general’s pay will rise by more than €34,000 from €215,998 to €250,000.

However, it is not clear whether any secretaries general are at this level.

Heads of universities, who are currently on €215,998, will get a 9pc pay rise that brings their salaries to €235,594.

A technological university chief will get a salary boost from €204,630 to €222,911.

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Secretary general at the Department of Health Robert Watt and HSE director general Paul Reid will not qualify for the increases as their salaries were set after emergency legislation that cut pay.

Under public service pay and pension legislation, the ‘restoration’ does not apply to the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, ministers, or attorney general.

The Government found it was not legally possible to block the increases due on July 1 to those earning more than €150,000, whose wages were first reduced over a decade ago.

A Department of Public Expenditure and Reform source said that in advance of the restoration date, minister Michael McGrath sought legal advice to establish whether the Government had any discretion in relation to the restoration payments.

He was told it was not permissible to either amend or delay the terms of restoration within the current legislation or by means of further legislation.

Public servants on yearly salaries up to €150,000 have already had the cuts fully restored.

The figures show medical consultants at the top of their pay scale on pre-2012 ‘type A’ contracts will see their pay rise up to €252,150, a 10pc increase on current levels.
In contrast, consultants recruited after 2012 on a ‘type C’ contract who may engage in on-site and offsite private practice will receive a 1.7pc increase to a maximum of €155,594 a year.

The €2,534 increase due to these consultants is much lower than their longer-serving colleagues will receive.

Pay rises for pre-2012 consultants at the top of their pay scales range from 6.3pc to 10pc and their salaries after the July increase will range from €183,859 a year to €252,150.

For those hired after 2012, the restored pay rates range from €155,954 to €221,765, with increases from 1.7pc to 10pc.

A Government source said those benefitting from pay restoration this year will not be in line for any “cost of living” pay rises that may be agreed at talks on a review of the current public sector pay deal.

These talks broke down last week.

The Government had tabled an offer that means public servants would get 7pc over two years.
This consists of an extra 5pc and two 1pc pay rises already agreed under the deal, Building Momentum.

The source said Department of Finance forecasts for inflation are for 6.25pc this year and 3pc next year, so an offer that provides for 7pc over the same period is a “credible position”.

Government sources said they were clear from the beginning of talks that they would not chase inflation, and it was important to avoid measures that would exacerbate inflationary pressures.

They said there are increasing levels of uncertainty present in the global economic climate including rising interest rates, high levels of public debt, inflationary pressures and that a balanced and prudent approach is appropriate “as recognised by the offer that was tabled”.

The Labour Party said the “bitter pill” of public sector pay restoration for the highest paid means talks must restart now.

“Public sector unions have rightly said they will not come back to negotiations until the government puts meaningful proposals on the table,” said Labour employment spokesperson Marie Sherlock.

“Government must realise now that it is storing up a summer of serious discontent if it fails to sufficiently address the hardship of real pay cuts that many workers, working in the public sector and those benchmarked to public sector wages rates are now experiencing.”


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