JUNIOR FINANCE MINISTER Brian Hayes has said that legislating with regards to public sector savings “is inevitable if there is no agreement”.
He cautioned against having to go down this route, however, saying: “We don’t want to impose some unilateral settlement if we cannot find agreement”.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Hayes said that he wasn’t surprised by yesterday’s protest by frontline staff, but said that further cuts to public sector pay required looking “under the bonnet” in order to help cut the €1 billion that government require.
While legislating for pay cuts alone would be “too simplistic”, he said that government instead hoped to deal with the “systematic problem” that existed instead and that things such as weekend overtime and premium pay could not be excluded.
Extending the talks
With Croke Park Agreement talks continuing, and with the deadline of the end of February now ‘looming’, Hayes hinted that the date could be extended.
Downplaying large scale industrial action by saying that the “great majority of public service unions were still around the table”, he said that it would be foolish to not extend the deadline, if required.