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Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe Leah Farrell/
Public Pay

Donohoe says he'll listen to unions on bid to remove emergency legislation as part of pay talks

Earlier this week, Minister Donohoe invited a number of unions representing public sector workers to discuss pay within the sector.

PUBLIC EXPENDITURE MINISTER Paschal Donohoe has said today that he is “willing to engage” with unions on their concerns over remaining emergency legislation in place from the financial crash during proposed upcoming public sector pay talks. 

The Minister’s comments come after the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) yesterday wrote to the Government outlining its concerns.

Speaking to reporters at Fine Gael’s special conference in Maynooth today, Donohoe said:

“What I welcome from the public sector unions is their recognition of the value of new wage agreements. And in particular, their recognition that a collective agreement, covering off all of our public servants has great value at the moment. And that’s a very welcome affirmation.

“They’ve raised a number of issues about the remaining pieces of Fempi legislation. And I’m willing to engage in that as part of the normal process that we have with regard to the future of public pay. And I believe, and know, the appropriate way of doing that is inside the workplace and relations commission.”

Fempi legislation refers to the Financial Emergencies Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 which was put in place following the 2008 financial crash. 

Siptu and the ICTU have both said that ahead of talks on a new public sector pay deal, a priority for them is returning to normalised industrial relations processes that were in place before this legislation.

The current public sector pay deal, Building Momentum, is set to expire at the end of the year and a new agreement needs to be ratified before the current deal expires.

Earlier this week, Minister Donohoe invited a number of unions representing public sector workers to discuss pay within the sector.

The invitation to the talks has been acknowledged and will be considered by Siptu and the ICTU Public Service Committee (PSC). 

On the request relating to the emergency legislation, Donohoe said today:

“So I’ll engage with them. I’ll hear in detail their views in relation to those last parts of the Fempi legislation, and look forward to doing that inside the WRC. We remain willing and available to commence those discussions in the coming days.”

Donohoe said today that no date has yet been set for the talks.

“I think it is important we get the discussions underway. I anticipate they’re going to be tough discussions, and it will take some time to get an outcome to them.

“But I’m committed to doing that. I believe wage agreements of this nature have served the taxpayer and our public services well and public servants as well. And we are now approaching the final months of Building Momentum,” he said.

With reporting from Christina Finn.

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