Government expected to table new public sector pay proposals
Some unions unhappy at failure of public service managers to get down to specifics
Substantive Government proposals for a new public service pay agreement are expected to be tabled to trade unions and staff associations on Wednesday.
Talks on a new accord have been underway since the start of last week but there has been criticism from some unions at the failure of public service management to produce specific proposals.
Government representatives have suggested that they want to see productivity gains in areas such as out-sourcing, more open recruitment, changes in attendance requirements as well as the standardisation of pay cycles.
The Government has also suggested that some groups of public service staff – particularly those with faster accruing benefits such as Gardaí and Defence Forces personnel – should contribute more to their pensions.
However, no specific details have yet been provided by management to trade unions.
At talks on Tuesday, unions pressed the Government to restore overtime rates to the levels that applied prior to the economic crash.
It is understood that Shay Cody, the chief union negotiator and a member of Impact, told colleagues at an internal meeting that the public services committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions was going to have prioritise its demands in the coming days given the level of resources available to the Government was limited.
It is understood that he suggested that priority areas could be the restoration of pay and the elimination of the existing public service pension levy as all groups would achieve some benefits from such developments.
Sources said union leaders were advised that there was only a limited pot of money available, particularly next year, and funding to pay for other initiatives such as reversing a requirement on staff to work additional unpaid hours would deplete the amounts available for pay restoration.
In a bulletin to its members, the Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU), which represents lower-paid civil servants, said that although it was too early to establish what prospects there were of an agreement being reached, “it would be fair to say the employer’s proposals and responses to our positions outlined to date indicate a significant gap between us”.