Paschal Donohoe agrees to pay talks with public sector unions

The Government has backed down from a standoff with public sector unions by agreeing to talks on “anomalies” in the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Paschal Donohoe has agreed to begin negotiations with public sector representatives over the repercussions of the garda Labour Court recommendation. Siptu is deferring its planned industrial action ballot which was due to begin tomorrow after the talks were announced by Mr Donohoe.

Although the Government still maintains it will stand by the time-frame set out under the Lansdowne Road Agreement, it has now brokered a new “two-stage process” of talks.

Public sector workers have been venting increasing frustration over the Labour Court recommendation which would see around €3,000 paid to gardaí from January. They have been demanding early renegotiations of the Lansdowne Road Agreement, which is not due to be discussed until the middle of next year, and want pay restoration to be accelerated.

Mr Donohoe said his department will invite groups to talks which “will seek to address anomalies arising from the recent recommendations issued by the Labour Court in relation to the Industrial Relations disputes with members of An Garda Síochána”.

However, he was adamant that the Government would wait until after the Public Pay Commission comes back with its recommendations in the middle of next year before re-entering talks on a successor to the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

“I am also making clear that other matters in relation to the future of public pay more generally will be dealt with in another way by Government, and that other way is by allowing the Public Services Pay Commission to do their work,” Mr Donohoe said.

Welcoming the talks, the Impact trade union said it had been calling for early negotiations to address the fallout from the Labour Court recommendations in the Garda dispute, and for clarity about the process and timetable for addressing the need for accelerated pay restoration. The Civil Public and Services Union said “tangible benefits” must flow from the talks.

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