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ESB workers repairing power lines after a storm in 2014. Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
Trouble Brewing

ESB pay rise likely to stir unrest among public sector workers

ESB workers have been offered a 5.5% pay rise over the next two and a half years.

EMPLOYEES AT ESB are set to receive a pay bump of 5.5% over the next two and a half years under new proposals.

The deal, which was offered after negotiations over the last few months between the company and group of unions, was revealed by Industrial Relations News yesterday.

It reported the offer would mean two equal increases of 2.75% over the period for the company’s 6,000 staff. There would also be a revised lump sum payment, on top of a 2% pay rise already given to workers in April last year.

The average basic wage of an ESB employee is €62,000, reaching €72,000 with overtime and expenses.

These proposals are likely to pique the interest of employees in the public sector, not least transport workers.


There is still a deadlock between Luas drivers and Transdev, with further strike days planned in the coming weeks.

Industrial action may also be on the cards for drivers at Dublin Bus and Irish Rail if they can’t come to an agreement with the companies over their pay.

Union sources told that workers in this sector will be taking stock of the ESB proposals.

“Any pay rise to any group of workers obviously puts pressure on both unions in other sectors and employers, there’s no doubt about that,” one transport union source said.

However, they said the figures proposed “wouldn’t be adequate” for transport workers to cover the impact of austerity measures over the last few years.

Marching on the Dáil

Though transport workers will be looking for more than the 5.5% over two and a half years offered to ESB employees, the news will irk frontline workers who have been vocal about their pay and conditions recently.

Just this week garda sergeants and inspectors threatened to march on the Dáil in uniform to demand their pay be restored to pre-2008 levels.

Rank and file members, who overwhelmingly rejected the latest public pay deal, have also been discussing the possibility of industrial action if the government does not play ball.

Teachers too are planning strike days, having raised the issue of low pay scales for newer teachers at the ASTI conference just last month.

Whenever TDs manage to pull a government together, it is certain the new ministers will have some tetchy workers waiting to see what they will do to address these industrial relations rows, before they get out of control.

Read: All-out strike ‘seriously on the agenda’ for Luas workers as dispute escalates>

Read: Sergeants and inspectors threaten to march on the Dáil in uniform to demand pay restoration>

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