Public-sector pay talks may put €2,000 more in workers' pockets

Public-sector pay talks may put €2,000 more in workers' pockets

Public sector unions and Government officials will meet again later this morning to continue talks on a deal to reverse cuts which could see workers get a €1,000 pay rise next year.

Negotiations adjourned in the early hours of this morning and will resume at the Labour Relations Commission at 10am.

Next year's possible €1,000 pay rise could be duplicated in 2017, meaning a €2,000 pay boost that is expected to favour lower-paid public-sector workers.

Unions had signalled in advance of these talks that they wanted a flat rate increase for the 290,000 public servants as that would benefit staff “from the bottom up”. The best method of achieving this was seen as an easing of the pension levy, which would affect the lower paid most. The levy averages out at about 7% per employee.

A cut in the levy is also thought to be more attractive to the Government — while the worker would benefit, there would be no actual increase in the pay bill.

It is believed that a deal on cutting the levy was close last night.

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin.

Furthermore it emerged that low-paid workers could receive a pay increase on top of that as reports suggested public service pensioners would also be in line for a boost to their finances.

In return for the pay rise, public sector workers will be expected to agree to further reforms and changes in work practices.

As reported in today's

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Irish Examiner, a deal spread over at least two years would reflect the insistence by Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin that there would be an “orderly” unwinding of the emergency legislation which has seen public servants’ pay cut by an average of 14% between the pension levy and pay cuts during the height of the recession.

He had also insisted ahead of the talks that existing pay ceilings for top-ranking public servants would be retained.

Industry Correspondent with the Irish Times Martin Wall says a deal was on the table and ready to be signed, but there were some last minute hitches to do with costing, which turned the mood sour.

"It seems a sticking point emerged at the last minute on the Government side…about the rollover costs (of the deal) into 2018," he said.

"That was still not resolved at 2am today."

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