Impact, the largest public service union in the country, has recommended acceptance of the new public service pay agreement.

The union, which represents almost 60,000 mainly public sector workers, will start balloting its members next week with the result to be announced on June 17.

The Cabinet yesterday approved the deal.

Impact spokesman Bernard Harbor said the agreement was “the best deal available through negotiations at this time”.

“If accepted, the agreement ensures that pay lost through FEMPI legislation would be restored to more than 90% of public servants. The rest would see full pay restoration within a further two years. And it will also mean pay increases for lower-paid staff currently earning less than €28,500, who have already exited FEMPI provisions.

“It will also preserve the value of public service pensions while taking almost a quarter of public servants out of FEMPI pension levy provisions by 2020. As a result, all public servants would receive positive pay and pension levy adjustments, with 73% seeing gains of 7% or more over the lifetime of the agreement. This is in line with the better union-negotiated pay rounds currently being agreed in the private sector.”

Mr Harbor said the preservation of protections against outsourcing was also a highly valuable feature of the proposed agreement, which also provides an avenue to address outstanding issues such as pay for “new entrants” employed since 2010, as well as recruitment and retention problems.

Two unions have already recommended rejection of the deal, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation and the Teachers Union of Ireland. The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland has yet to begin deliberations on the proposed deal.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has adjourned its deliberations on the deal until today.

On Monday, the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants decided not to give a recommendation to its 3,000 members before they are balloted next week.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe said the deal will award affordable pay increases, make pension provision more sustainable and secure industrial peace.

“There is a lot in this deal for those that sign up to it and my hope is that those engaging in ballots over the coming weeks will take the time to consider everything that is contained in the draft agreement,” he said.

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