Impact backs public service pay deal

One of the country’s largest unions has voted to accept the new public service pay deal, but has warned that it expects discussions aimed at ending the two-tier pay scales currently imposed upon its members.

Impact yesterday announced that its members have backed the public service stability agreement (PSSA) by a margin of 77% to 23% on a 52% turnout.

The result will be welcomed by the Government, coming days after the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation voted against the proposals by 89% to 11%, based on a ballot of 53% of its 36,272 members.

The deal would extend the existing Lansdowne Road agreement by three years, and provide increases in pay rates of up to 7.4% over the lifetime of the new agreement on a phased basis.

The agreement will only be adopted if an overall majority within the Irish Congress of Trade Union’s public services committee group backs the proposals.

Impact has almost 60,000 members, including 50,000 in the public sector, and following the result it said it wants negotiations on the “new entrants” issue, which saw lower pay scales introduced for staff who joined the public service since 2011.

“The PSSA will see the restoration of pay cuts and a significant proportion of the so-called pension levy for the vast majority of public servants, including new entrants,” said Impact deputy general secretary Kevin Callinan.

“This is a good outcome, soured by the corrosive inequity between pre and post-2011 staff which, in the public service, is now the number one legacy of the crisis. It needs to be dealt with urgently and conclusively.

“If the majority of unions vote to accept the PSSA, Impact will be demanding that this work begins as soon as the ICTU public services committee meets in mid-September to confirm the ballot outcome. I believe we should be in meaningful talks before the end of September. We need to find imaginative ways of resolving the problem in every part of the public service, including the education sector.”

Other unions will also have their say on the PSSA, or have already cast their ballots.

Siptu, the country’s largest trade union, issued a recommendation to its members in support of the agreement. Balloting of Siptu members began earlier this month and will continue into August.

The executive council of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said it will hold off on making a recommendation on the agreement until the council meets again in August.

The INMO will ballot its members between August 29 and September 14.

The PSSA has not been well received by teaching unions. The result of the INTO aside, the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland and the Teachers Union of Ireland recommended members to reject the deal.

The Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants, which represents more than 3,000 senior civil servants and managers in the civil service and semi-state sector, voted by a majority of 82% in favour of the agreement.

The Civil Public and Services Union is to ballot its members in mid-September.

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