Public pay commission won’t replace direct talks

The Government have insisted that a new pay commission will not take the place of direct negotiations with trade unions but will instead lay groundwork for the next pay deal with workers.

Announcing the new Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC) yesterday, officials also confirmed the commission would only produce its first report towards the middle of next year.

Trade union leaders have welcomed the setting up of the new commission, which will be chaired by former Labour Court chairman Kevin Duffy.

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed that Mr Duffy will receive €11,000 for his role while the other six members of the commission will be paid €9,000 each.

Part of the role of the new commission will be to examine how to unwind emergency legislation which introduced pay cuts for workers during the crash.

Its work will begin immediately but its first report will not go to Government until the second quarter of next year, it was confirmed.

Benefits and allowances for different workers in the public sector will be considered, as will the security of jobs under existing agreements. Pay comparisons with other jurisdictions will also be looked at by the commission.

Public service reform, retention and recruitment within sectors will also be examined.

The terms for the new commission also say that the “impact of public wages on national competitiveness and sustainable national finances” will be considered.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet has agreed that all office holders in government will waive a pay rise which was scheduled to take effect from next April. This means that senior ministers, whose salary was due to increase from €157,540 to €161,451, will in fact not change. Similarly, junior ministers yesterday agreed their salary would also remain at €121,639.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s pay will also remain at just over €185,000.

There was controversy after the existence of the pay hikes emerged during the budget talks and it was revealed that ministers were entitled to pay rises worth €11,735 between April 2017 and April 2019.

The pay rise was agreed with public service workers under the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Minister Donohoe confirmed the Cabinet had agreed not to accept the increases, which apply to public servants on salaries over €65,000.

But he signalled that salaries of other officials such as secretaries general would not be frozen as this would be rearranging the mechanics of the current pay deal.

However, the minister said it would up to individual TDs on whether they accepted a similar pay rise next year, which will see their salaries rise from €89,965 to €92,672.

Parties have given a mixed response on whether TDs should voluntarily give up their €2,700 pay rise.

News 6&7

Editorial: 12



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