Siptu urges members to back new public sector pay deal

The countrys largest trade union,Siptu, has urged its members who work for the State to accept the proposed new public service agreement.

The union said its national executive had decided to recommend acceptance of the proposals as, on balance, the benefits in the accord such as the protections against outsourcing outweighed the potential for what might be gained by running the risk of rejection.

Siptu said that if members accepted the proposed deal it would vigorously pursue implementation of all elements of the proposals.

Siptu said that in particular it would insist on the full implementation of a clause in theproposed agreement which envisaged the establishment of a process to satisfactorily resolve the issue of pay for new entrants.

Siptu represents more than 70,000 staff working across various parts of the public service.

The union had previously indicated that it could not support any deal that weakened existing safeguards against outsourcing of public services.

However in the final draft agreement the Government backed away from earlier proposals to relax the current restrictions in placed against out-sourcing of public services.

The trade union Impact, which represents about 60,000 public service employees, has also urged its members to back the draft deal.

A decision on whether to ratify formally the proposed agreement is based on an aggregate vote of affiliated member unions of the public services committee of theIrish Congress of Trade Unions.

Under this process each affiliate union is given a weight based on the size of its membership.

If a majority vote in favour of the deal, it is deemed to be ratified.

However in the past some unions have refused to be bound by such a majority decision in cases where their own membership had voted against a proposed deal.

If members of Siptu and Impact follow the recommendations of their union executives and back the proposed accord, a majority of the public services committee would be in sight, particularly if the deal was backed by members of some of the civil service unions.

Teacher unions

However one problem for the Government could be in the teaching sector where the Irish National Teachers Organisation and the Teachers Union of Ireland have urged members to reject the proposed deal on the basis that it did not do enough to tackle the problem of lower pay for recently-recruited staff.

The position of the ASTI on the draft deal will not be known until the autumn.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, which had campaigned for special financial incentives to address recruitment and retention problems – which were not provided for in the agreement – is scheduled to set out its position next week.

TheIrish Medical Organisation(IMO) said on Wednesday that it had deferred making a decision on the proposed public service agreement amid rising concerns about a recruitment and retention crisis for doctors.

The IMO said it was seeking clarification on key issues including recruitment and retention and pay rates for new entrant consultants.

DrAnn Hogan, president of the IMO, said that the organisations council had considered the proposed deal but felt unable to reach a conclusion on the issue at this time .

We cant divorce the debate about the pay agreement from the crisis in retention and recruitment for doctors. The agreement fails, in its current form, to adequately address this issue and in the absence of substantial proposals, it is not realistic for the IMO to reach a conclusion on the merits or otherwise of the pay agreement.

TERMS OF PROPOSED PUBLIC SERVICE DEAL:

* About 250,000 State employees will receive pay improvements of between 6.2 per cent and 7.4 per cent over three years

* A further 50,000 civil and public service staff recruited since 2013 and who have a less generous pension scheme will receive pay improvements of 7 per cent and 10 per cent over the same period.

* About 23,000 State employees such as Garda, military personnel and prison officers, who have faster accruing pensions than other groups, will benefit least from the proposed new agreement.

* The deal, if accepted, will cost the exchequer 880 million over three years.

* From January 1st, 2018 public service staff will receive a 1 per cent pay rise with a further 1 per cent increase to follow on October 1st next year.

* Staff earning up to 30,000 will receive a one per cent rise in January 2019 with all personnel to get a 1.75 per cent increase in September 2019.

* A further rise of 0.5 per cent will be put in place for those on salaries of up to 32,000 in January 2020 with all staff to get an additional 2 per cent in October 2020.

* The existing public service pension levy, which was introduced as a financial emergency measure in 2009 following the economic crash, is to be converted into permanent additional superannuation contribution on a three-tier basis which is aimed at reflecting differing pension benefits.

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