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That massive row over "at risk" pay at Irish Water is coming to an end

Staff were told last year they not be paid any performance-related pay for 2013 or 2014.

Image: Shutterstock/cosma

Updated at 1.40pm

THE LABOUR RELATIONS Commission has issued its recommendation in the row over Irish Water pay.

It’s hoped the move will end the long-running dispute over performance-related payments (sometimes referred to as ‘bonuses’) at the company.

As an interim measure, non-performance-related increments should be paid at Irish Water, the LRC said – until a performance-related system is reinstated in 2017.

The dispute has been rumbling on since last year, when staff at the semi-state were told they would not be paid any performance-related pay for 2013 or 2014, and that a review of the entire salary structure would be conducted.

Irish Water has said today will accept the LRC’s proposals after a talks process that began earlier this summer.

Unions at the company will also recommend acceptance, a Siptu spokesman confirmed.

How did the dispute arise? 

Last November’s decision not to pay “at risk” increments – which were frequently referred to as bonuses in the media – followed months of political turmoil surrounding the utility and a number of large-scale protests.

iw1 Source: TheJournal.ie

It had emerged the previous month that some staff who were deemed to “need improvement” could still be entitled to the payments.

A spokesperson for Irish Water said at the time that the move reflected the fact that at the end of 2014, the company had “not yet earned sufficient public confidence”.

A statement said:

We made this decision in the best interests of Irish Water and the wider Ervia group to show we are listening to the public.

Workers, however, said they weren’t willing to accept the unilateral change – with Siptu saying the pay structure had been agreed with management in 2012 and had resulted in a €34 million saving in labour costs.

What’s happening now? 

This is the proposal being put forward by the LRC (which is being accepted by the Ervia group, including Irish Water):

  • The pay model introduced to Ervia in 2013 should be implemented in full immediately across the Ervia group, with modified proposals for Irish Water as outlined below.
  • The pay model should apply in Irish Water from 2017. Before then, an interim arrangement will apply where Irish Water employees revert to an increment-based model for a period from January 2014 to the end of 2016. Irish Water employees will receive non-pensionable annual increments ranging from 1.5 to 3% effective from January of each year following their appointments.
  • The Performance Related Award element of the Ervia pay model will therefore not apply to staff in Irish Water for this interim period to the end of 2016 and the increments which are applied to Irish Water staff during the interim period will be withdrawn when these staff revert to the Ervia pay model, with effect from 1st January 2017.

Read: Alan Kelly reveals death threats against his family but says Irish Water was not a mistake

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