‘Lots of scope’ for pay rises in private sector

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has claimed there is, what it described as “considerable scope” for increasing pay in the private sector as it reiterated its call for basic pay rises of at least €1,000 or 4% for all workers in the sector.

In a bulletin, ICTU pointed to four reasons for the claim: The general level of earnings in the economy and the share received by workers; projected increases in rates of price inflation; projected increases in productivity; profit levels in private sector companies.

“Based on the available evidence the Congress Private Sector Committee believes that there is considerable scope for increasing pay, in the private sector. Achieving the rate of increase suggested will protect the living standards of workers, increase their spending power and give them a fairer return for increased productivity,” it said.

Meanwhile, services will have to be slashed or taxes raised in order to meet fresh public sector pay demands, the head of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council warned.

It also cautioned against unplanned spending next year, especially in light of economic uncertainty due to Brexit.

Fiscal council chairman Prof John McHale said public sector pay demands, where the Government has now agreed to bring forward talks with unions, would hit spending elsewhere.

“If you’re going to have more spending such as in public sector pay then you’re going to have to cut back spending in other areas affecting services or have higher taxes, which is very hard to do in the short term, so the likelihood is to cut spending in other areas,” Prof McHale told RTE’s Morning Ireland.

The council estimates the state will spend over €200m more than is justified next year under key Brussels expenditure rules.

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe said he would issue a formal invite to unions for talks on pay, ahead of gardaí returning ballots on a new €40m pay deal by next Monday.


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