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Pressure increases on government as unions set a six-day deadline

Union groups Siptu and ICTU have said that the Lansdowne Road agreement is no longer relevant after the garda pay deal.

Image: RollingNews.ie

EXPENDITURE MINISTER Paschal Donohoe has said that he “disagrees” with comments made this afternoon that the Lansdowne Road agreement “is no longer viable”.

Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) General Secretary Patricia King told RTÉ News earlier today that the public sector pay agreement is no longer relevant after the government offered a better pay deal to the gardaí.

“They agreed more favourable terms with a group who are outside and never part of the Lansdowne Road Agreement,” she said.

Minister Donohoe said that he disagreed with this sentiment, but said the one thing they did agree on, was that they needed a collective agreement on public pay.

The other option would be a ‘free for all’ where unions will separately seek pay increases, but King said that she got “no indication” from the government that that’s what they wanted.

Garda strikes

A fortnight ago, thousands of gardaí threatened strike action over pay and work conditions, which forced the government into new pay negotiations.

The Labour Court made recommendations including increased rent supplement and extra payments for days off to the gardaí, after which the garda trade unions announced that all planned strike action would be called off.

King said that the garda pay deal was ‘clearly a breach’ of Lansdowne Road and that the government admitted so themselves.

The Government has no choice if it wants to stay in collective agreement, other than restarting negotiations on a new pay deal.

Speaking on RTÉ tonight Minister Donohoe said that he had said the garda pay deal would have “far-reaching ramifications” for public pay, and has expressed concerns before that there isn’t enough money to solve all industrial disputes.

Earlier this week Siptu president Jack O’Connor said that if the government didn’t announce a date for new public pay talks by next Thursday, that they would ballot their members for industrial action.

King said that ICTU had made contact with the Department for Expenditure and made clear that they had “very strong expectations” of discussions, and expected them to happen sooner rather than later.

“Contact is ongoing nearly on a daily basis, so we would expect in coming weeks to get a date for renegotiations.”

Read: SIPTU threatens to ballot all 60,000 members unless Government sits down for pay talks

Read: GRA general secretary survives no confidence vote as AGSI calls for members to accept pay deal

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