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The law allowing the government to cut public sector pay is being scrapped
The section that is being deleted allowed public service employers to take steps that would impact on non-core pay and working hours.

A SECTION OF legislation that conceivably allows the government to unilaterally cut public sector pay is to be abolished.

A section in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) Act, which gives the Public Expenditure and Reform Minister the authority to cut the pay or increase the working hours of some 292,000 public sector workers, is to be abolished.

Today, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin secured the agreement of Cabinet to delete Section 2b of the the Act as part of an amendment to the Workplace Relations Bill 2014.

Haddington Road Agreement 

The section was introduced as “a limited contingency measure” in the event that the government was unable to reach an agreement with trade unions on changes to pay and conditions which eventually formed part of the Haddington Road Agreement.

This section would have allowed  public service employers to take steps that would impact on non-core pay and working hours of staff in their organisations bring about savings.

However, the public service unions and associations signed up to the Haddington Road Agreement, which Howlin said this evening has produced a “significant dividend to the public finances while, crucially, maintaining industrial peace”.

The removal of Section 2B is in recognition that any requirement for this measure has now passed.

However, all other provisions provided for under the FEMPI remains in place.

Howlin said the legislation continues to be a  necessary component of the fiscal consolidation programme to achieve and maintain the general government deficit target of below 3 per cent of GDP by 2015.

The amendment will be tabled next week at Committee Stage of the Workplace Relations Bill 2014 which is currently before the Oireachtas.

The IMPACT trade union welcomed  today’s announcement.

Opinion: There’s a good reason for the private-public sector pay gap>

Read: Union welcomes Howlin’s plans to slowly reverse public sector pay cuts>


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