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In the midst of strike action, a public pay commission is finally being set up

The commission will advise the government on pay for hundreds of thousands of public sector workers.

Paschal Donohoe
Paschal Donohoe
Image: RollingNews.ie

A PUBLIC SERVICE PAY Commission is to be set up to advise the government about pay for hundreds of thousands of public sector workers.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe made the announcement today at Government Buildings, stressing that the commission will make recommendations but not decisions on pay.

The commission will provide an initial report some time between April and June of next year.

Speaking at the announcement, Minister Donohoe said the main role of the commission will be “to provide input and advice to government for work in relation to how we deal with the affordability of public pay in the future.”

The commission’s work will be carried out against the backdrop of planned industrial action by teachers and gardaí.

Kevin Duffy, the former chairman of the Labour Court, has been appointed as chair of the commission. Minister Donohoe cited Duffy’s “thorough knowledge of industrial relations, independence and objectivity” as being “particularly critical” for the role.

Six more members will be appointed to the commission in the coming days.

Unions

Minister Donohoe called on civil and public sector unions that have rejected the Lansdowne Road Agreement to engage with the government, pointing out that over 250,000 civil and public servants have signed up to the wage agreement.

“What the country cannot afford to do is go down the path of leapfrogging wage agreements, where an agreement is done in relation to one part of our civil and public service unions, that then triggers another wage increase from elsewhere,” he said. “That is why we have an agreement such as the Lansdowne Road Agreement in place.”

He added:

In discussions and negotiations in relation to public service pay, it is absolutely vital for the government and for me to be aware of those [public and civil] servants who are already inside the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Earlier today, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told the Sean O’Rourke Show on RTE Radio One that the setting up of such a commission was long overdue.

Minister Donohoe said that the initial report of the commission will be to analyse how the unwinding of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) legislation should proceed.

Additional reporting by Christine Bohan 

Read: Tánaiste expresses ‘disappointment’ that AGSI to strike with rank-and-file gardaí 

Read: Who is Ireland’s ‘squeezed middle’?

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