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Donohoe acknowledged that the negotiations will be "challenging". Alamy
pay talks

Unions invited to discuss public sector pay by Minister Donohoe

Unions said they want normalised industrial relations processes and appropriate pay measures.

A NUMBER OF unions representing public sector workers have been invited to discuss pay within the sector by Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe.

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

Both groups highlighted two of their main priorities, ahead of negotiations, as normalising industrial relations processes in the sector and securing appropriate pay measures to tackle with rising costs.

Donohoe invited unions to enter negotiations with Government on the potential for a new public service pay agreement under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission.

Announcing the invitation today, Donohoe said the “opportunity now exists for the parties to intensify efforts to try to agree an appropriate successor agreement to Building Momentum which expires at the end of 2023″.

The ‘Building Momentum agreement‘ was accepted by unions in October 2022, after extensive negotiations between unions and the government. The deal was brokered under the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis.

Under the plan, employees in the public sector received a 6.5% pay increase, over the 12 months that followed its agreement, in three increments. The final increment took place in October.

Speaking on the union’s consideration, Siptu’s deputy general secretary John King said workers want pay increases which “ensure that the value of their pay is not eroded by inflation”.

King said workers also “want a return to normalised industrial relations across the public service”.

He added that members would want to maintain the protective clauses in the Public Service Agreement that prevents any form of outsourcing and secure clauses around service delivery.

The PSC are also seeking the same particular securities ahead of the new negotiations.

In a statement from the committee today, it said the committee agreed its “priority objectives for a future pay deal in September” which places a “particular emphasis” on securing appropriate pay measures, in response to continuing cost-of-living pressures.

The PSC are also seeking a return to normalised industrial relations processes after unions have “identified the normalisation of ‘post-crisis’ public service industrial relations”.

The group said this clause will be a “key priority” for them moving into talks, particularly seeking “appropriate access” to the WRC and the Labour Court, and the final dismantling of remaining emergency legislation.

Both groups also are seeking to resolve outstanding issues affecting a number of public service grades, groups and categories.

These measures are considered methods to future-proof public services and public service employment.

Donohoe acknowledged these discussions will be “challenging”, adding that any agreement has to be appropriate to the economic and geopolitical contexts the country is currently facing.

The minister added: “However, I believe that there is scope for all parties to engage constructively towards an agreement that provides valuable certainty over the coming years for the taxpayer, businesses who rely on essential public services and of course our public servants who work so hard to provide them.”

Both Siptu and ICTU’s PSC has acknowledged the invitation, with members PSC due to meet tomorrow morning to consider and respond to the minister’s invitation.

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