Unions ratify new public-sector pay deal

Unions ratify new public-sector pay deal

'Unions do expect to be back in negotiations next year to secure pay terms beyond the lifetime of the current agreement, which will expire at the end of 2023,' said Ictu president Kevin Callinan. Picture: Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos

A new public sector pay deal has been ratified by unions.

The decision follows a meeting of the Ictu's public service committee (PSC) to consider the result of recent ballots by public service unions on the revised public service pay measures. The PSC will formally notify the Government and the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) today.

Once implemented, the pay deal would see pay increases of 3% backdated from February 2, a further 2% from March 1 next year, and 1.5% or €750 (whichever is greater) from October 1, 2023. This is in addition to 1% or €500, whichever is greater, due at the beginning of October 2022.

The minimum payment of €750 a year from next October means the package would be worth 8% to a worker earning €25,000 a year and 7% to a person on €37,500 a year, the Ictu said.

All of the affiliated unions taking part in the ballot voted in favour of the proposals. 

PSC chairman and Ictu president Kevin Callinan said the strong showing in favour of the pay deal reflects a recognition by workers that these pay measures will be a helpful support to people at a critical time.

Unions do expect to be back in negotiations next year to secure pay terms beyond the lifetime of the current agreement, which will expire at the end of 2023, and unions will, of course, continue to closely monitor living costs and income pressures,” said Mr Callinan.

Meanwhile, Siptu representatives have called for clarity from the Government concerning the funding of pay increases for workers employed by independent organisations which provide care and community services on behalf of the State.

This week, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that grants would be made available to workers in community healthcare organisations so that their wages can be increased.

But Siptu union representative Helen Power, who is a cleaning supervisor and relief care staff at St Joseph’s Foundation in Charleville which cares for people with intellectual disabilities, said she would wait for the proof in her pay packet before believing it.

The Covid pandemic payment has still not been received by Ms Power and her healthcare worker colleagues, which gives her some concern about when or whether State promises of increased payments would be delivered.

“Until I see it in my pay package, I won’t believe it,” she said.

“It’s not our employer’s fault, their hands are tied.

We have great support from our management structure — they want to pay us, but don’t have the funding to do so. They’re also sick of continually asking the Government, the HSE, to release the funding.” 

She said that the State now needs to “sit up and listen” to their demands.

Section 39 workers such as Ms Power work for organisations which are given State funding under Section 39 of the Health Act, 2004. Although they provide vital work for our health service — such as care of people with additional needs — they are not classified as public servants, and do not benefit from public-sector pay deals.

Their colleagues employed directly by the HSE and under Section 38 contracts are classified as public servants and tend to be paid more and have more secure contracts than their Section 39 counterparts, even when doing the same job.

Many of these Section 39 workers have not had a pay increase in 14 years.

Mr Varadkar said that block grants for Section 39 organisations would ensure that these workers would receive pay rises similar to those seen in the public sector. 

He flagged €100m in additional funding provided in the budget. 

Hundreds of Section 39 community and care sector workers took to the picket lines last month in national strike action to demand pay parity.

Gerard Madigan, a social care worker for people with disabilities in St Joseph’s Foundation in Charleville, Co Cork, said that staff do not want to strike again, but they may have to if pay parity is not granted.

“It’s great that Government is reacting now, but pay parity is what we’re looking for with the HSE and Section 38 organisations," he said.

It’s a step in the right direction, but pay parity is what we want. We want to be treated the same as others.

“We don’t want to go on strike again but we will have to if a pay linkage with the HSE and Section 38 workers is not formed.” 

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