Sunday 17 December 2017

Public sector must accept pay offer

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

Neither the Government nor the trade unions representing more than 300,000 public servants got everything they sought in the pay talks concluded last week. They produced a compromise agreement with enough for both sides to be satisfied. Certainly the Government, in the form of Paschal Donohoe, the Minister for Public Expenditure, and new Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, seemed pleased, not least with the speedy manner of the proceedings.

The deal will cost the taxpayer €880m over three years commencing next January, but the first instalment to be paid in 2018 will amount to €180m, which will leave about €350m for any tax cuts, public service improvements or capital expenditure.

For the public service trade unions, the deal represents an opportunity to see 90pc of their membership claw back by 2020 what they lost in the recession, and get ahead of inflation. The average pay increase will be around 6.6pc with the majority, 250,000 people, getting between 6.2pc and 7.4pc while a further 50,000 recruited since 2013 on less generous pension terms will get 7pc to 10pc. In cash terms, the vast majority of public servants will see their salaries rise by between €4,000 and €5,400. Gardai, prison officers and military personnel (about 23,000 people) who have faster-accruing pension terms will get lesser increases.

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