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Public sector pay increments should be deferred, says Varadkar

Freezing pay increases could save up to €200 million a year, he said, but admits would be in breach of Croke Park Agreement.

Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, admitted any deferment would breach the Croke Park Agreement
Leo Varadkar, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, admitted any deferment would breach the Croke Park Agreement
Image: William Murphy via Flickr/Creative Commons

THE PAYMENT OF increments to staff in the public sector should be deferred for a year, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar has said.

Freezing pay increases could save up to €200 million a year, he told NewsTalk Radio, a significant sum in a year in which the government needs to find €2.25 billion in savings leading up to the next budget.

“I certainly wouldn’t begrudge anyone their increment but its very hard to justify giving anyone a pay increase in the year ahead while we’re cutting services,” he said.

“That’s a big saving, and one that doesn’t hurt anyone because they’re not worse off.”

Although he acknowledged that core pay was protected under the Croke Park Agreement, he said that the Agreement also said that there would be no pay increases – meaning increments:

were a kind of a grey area in that sense.

Unions reacted angrily to any suggestion that pay increments would be frozen.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, the head of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation Liam Doran said that there were no grey areas when it came to pay increments.

“The Croke Park Agreement doesn’t speak of core pay or basic pay. It talks about pay rates. We would view increments as part of this, therefore they are covered and protected by the agreement.”

He said that any freezing of increments would hit lower paid public servants hardest, as those in management are often not subject to increments.

“All lower grades from clerical officers to staff nurses and entry grade prison officers are subject to incemental scales, whereas those appointed to management grades are often appointed to the max of the scale.” He added:

They would be unaffected. That in itself would make and deferment of increments unfair.

Should the Croke Park Agreement be renegotiated >

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