Croke Park talks: Govt does not want to cut pay, says Quinn

The Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has said the Government does not want to cut the pay of civil and public servants, but that it needs to find more savings in the public sector.

Ruairí Quinn was speaking ahead of a new round of talks on an extension to the Croke Park Agreement.

Unions and business representatives will meet with government officials today to begin the process of negotiations with items such as pay increments, longer working weeks and pensions all up for discussion.

It is understood the Government is also considering compulsory redundancies for the first time.

Minister Quinn said savings have to be achieved from less this time round.

"We don't want to cut pay," he said. "We want to get greater productivity to extend the service at a lower cost to the taxpayer, but maintain the quality of the service."

Meanwhile, Sean Murphy of Chambers Ireland said public sector pensions needed to be reformed, that "career-average retirement earnings" should be introduced and that pay increments would have to be paused.

"Increments last year and the year before cost between €190m and €250m over the two years," he said. "Sixty-three percent of all civil servants qualify for increments. It's not a small number.

"You're not talking about cutting people's pay - you're talking about pausing it for a number of years as we get more wiggle room to deal with the challenges we face as a state."

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