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Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Paschal Donohoe tells the media he now faces a challenge of making sure there isn't a contagion effect within the public sector. Christina Finn
Mo Money Mo Problems

First the buses, now the gardaí: Government fears 'domino effect' in public sector pay demands

Minister Donohoe reiterated that any public sector pay claims must be settled through the Lansdowne Agreement.

THE GOVERNMENT IS worried the planned garda strike could spark a “domino effect” within the public sector.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe has said the challenge he faces now is ensuring there isn’t a “domino-like effect” of wage demands and strike action by workers.

“The challenge that I have to manage, and I am working with all of my colleagues in relation to all of this, is the potential for a domino-like effect. When you recognise in a different way the needs of one group, then every other group raises their level of need.”

Donohoe reiterated that any public sector pay claims must be settled through the Lansdowne Agreement.

Contagion effect 

Donohoe is eager to put a stop to any contagion effect – which could play havoc on public services and make a serious dent in the public purse.

No sooner had the Dublin Bus strikes been called off, gardaí announced they would down tools. There is an expectation the domino effect has already begun, with speculation mounting that teachers are next.

When asked if more strike action is on the way and whether this was sparked by Luas drivers winning their dispute, the minister said:

Luas workers are paid by a private country that won a contract that made their choice to how they are going to deal with the needs of their workers.In relation to the CIE group – this is an entity that is outside of Lansdowne Agreement managed by an outside board, and they make their choices in relation to  how they are going to allocate their revenue in the future…

He said a large number of unions inside the Lansdowne Agreement are availing of its “flexibilities and benefits”.

Newly qualified teachers

Giving an example, he said the agreement was used to deal with INTO and TUI union in relation to the needs of newly qualified teachers.

The minister would not go so far as to say the gardaí are a special case, stating that every union will make the case that their workers have a particular role to play in this country.

“I need to be consignant of and respect those that are already in it [Lansdowne Road Agreement] and I will now be working with the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice to support her in her efforts and in her work to respond to recent decision of Garda Representative Association (GRA),” said the minister.

In the run up to the Budget, Donohoe said he has to look at what funds are available – and what they should be spent on.

The fund of money I am involved in now working on Budget 2017  - that is a fund of money that has to pay for the wages of those that work within our public services, but also has to be used to improve those public services.
It has to used to be used to give me the resources to hire more nurses, hire more gardaí, hire more teachers, all of which we have done over the last year, all of which we want to continue to do in the future.
But in order to be able to do that, having a pace of wage growth for the future that is affordable for everybody is vital.

Read: A Fine Gael TD wants the government to expel the Russian ambassador over Aleppo airstrikes>

Read: ‘It’s punishing children’: Students could be penalised over dispute about Junior Cert English exam>

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