Delegates at the annual conference in Galway voted on a show of hands to call on members to vote yes to the proposals in a ballot that will take place over the next six weeks.
PSEU general secretary Tom Geraghty had come out very strongly in support of the deal stating that the only alternative was “to engage in a prolonged... industrial relations war”.
The PSEU represents 10,000 public servants.
Three other unions, SIPTU, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation and the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants, have also recommended acceptance of the proposals.
However, eight are opposing the deal: The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, Unite, the Teachers Union of Ireland, the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland, the Civil Public and Services Union, the Irish Federation of University Teachers, the Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union and the soldiers’ group, PDFORRA.
Before balloting members the executive of the 60,000 member IMPACT have asked for clarification of the proposals. Last week the IMPACT executive unanimously stated it could not recommend acceptance of the proposals.
In the private sector the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has placed its support behind a campaign seeking to maintain the Joint Labour Committee (JLC) agreement governing wages and work conditions in the restaurant industry.
Yesterday the Restaurant Workers Action Group staged a protest at Supermac’s restaurant in Galway. Supermac’s is part of the Quick Service Food Alliance, an industry group mounting a legal challenge to the JLC system.
Oktay Gencoglu, a restaurant worker in Naas, said; “Restaurant workers are already suffering to support our families. Our hours have been cut and many of us have seen our wages cut too. Any more cuts would be disastrous for us. We are counting on the government to strengthen the JLC system and defend our wages.”
ICTU official Peter Rigney said; “Repeated investigations by the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) have found workers in the sector receiving as little €3 and €5 per hour.”
He added; “In 2009, NERA recovered €737,000 in unpaid wages from almost 450 employers. The sector as a whole has a compliance rate of just 21% in those restaurants inspected. The Restaurant owners would be better served addressing the sector’s problems with compliance than trying to cut peoples’ wages.”