THE deal agreed between gardaí and Government over the weekend is another welcome step towards restoring equity in public sector pay.
It facilitates a €4,000 yearly rent allowance for recruits and will help bridge the pay gap between them and their colleagues who enjoy older, more attractive pay rates. The deal, it is believed, also means that gardaí who expected incremental pay rises in July will have them restored.
From Government’s perspective, it defuses the possibility of immediate industrial action by gardaí while it tries to resolve a simmering bus strike in Dublin and growing unrest in education. It is also another step along a precariously high tightrope — satisfying public pay demands but doing so in a way that does not mark a return to the kind of dangerous, economy-breaking silliness epitomised by benchmarking.
This does not close the book on garda pay though. Gardaí await a Haddington Road review which is expected to be finalised before Christmas. This may be a more difficult nut to crack especially if pay rises and reform are linked — as they should be.
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