€1k pay hike brought forward for public workers

The Government has avoided potential industrial action by bringing forward a €1,000 pay increase for public workers.

€1k pay hike brought forward for public workers

Unions supported the proposal to bring forward the €1,000 pay rise to those earning up to €65,000.

The payment, which had been due to kick in from September, was brought forward to April 1, in a bid to avoid industrial action.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Paschal Donohoe had entered talks with public sector representatives to address anomalies arising from the €50m Garda pay recommendation made by the Labour Court.

Mr Kenny told the Dáil: “The rationale was to restore the structure to the process and to support industrial peace while allowing more difficult issues such as pension benefits, which are to be on the table as part of the later negotiations in respect of the Lansdowne Road agreement.”

The public services committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions said the new arrangement is contingent on maintaining industrial peace.

Mr Kenny said the accelerated increases would allow for the continuation of the Lansdowne Road agreement until a new deal is reached.

The agreement will see around 250,000 public service employees receive an increase in annualised salaries of €1,000 for April to August. it means workers will receive around €420 more than had been expected this year.

The pay deal will not apply to gardaí, who have already received around €3,000 as part of a Labour Court agreement, nor will it apply to teachers who are members of the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland and are outside of the Lansdowne Road agreement.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin told the Dáil he does not argue against the acceleration of pay restoration, but said he would like to know where the money is coming from.

“Bluntly, a trite line that it will come from unspecified efficiencies or savings is not good enough for the House.

“When the Labour Court recommendation relating to An Garda Síochána came through late last year, the Government fudged how it would be paid for.”

Earlier in the day, Mr Donohoe said the money would come from savings and efficiencies, but could not identify exactly where these savings would be made.

He said the total amount would be less than the savings that had been accrued in 2016 and that he expects similar savings this year.

He said it is important to secure “order in how we plan our public expenditure for this year”.

Mr Donohoe said: “The other scenario that I faced into is inexorable pressure building up on those unions and their members who were inside the Lansdowne Road agreement.

“The consequences for that are unpredictable; they would have been unpredictable for the exchequer, they would have been unpredictable for industrial relations within our country.”

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