PUBLIC EXPENDITURE AND Reform Minister Brendan Howlin has said that he wants to extend the Croke Park Agreement on public service pay and reform to 2016 and make an additional €1 billion in savings.
The Minister was speaking ahead of planned meetings with public sector unions next week in a bid to make further savings through measures that would include staff in the public service working longer hours for the same pay.
Other issues likely to be raised by government are increments and whether or not they should be incorporated into core pay and premium pay rates with Howlin suggesting that there be no additional pay for Saturday working.
On Newstalk’s Breakfast programme he said that “Croke Park is delivering, it’s just not enough” but he insisted that the agreement had so far delivered all that it had set out to deliver, saying that the target of €3.5 billion in net savings by 2015 is still on track.
“Since the pay bill is 35 per cent of current expenditure, that’s where we’re looking,” he told the programme saying: “What I envisage is a three year further deal that will deal with all outstanding issues.”
Howlin said that he hoped to conclude negotiations with unions by early next year in the hope of beginning to make savings towards the end of next year.
“I will be laying out my stall to the people I am negotiating with first,” he said adding that this was “courteous but prudent” as he said that “fairness will be the hallmark of what I want to do in this”.
Howlin has also said that he does not want to cut core pay for public servants or make them compulsorily redundant.
So far it is estimated that the Croke Park Agreement has saved €1.5 billion so far, including €920 million in its second year of operation from mid-2011 to mid-2012.