Hayes: Some savings have to come from public pay

The junior finance minister, Brian Hayes, has not ruled out introducing legislation to make savings of €1bn on the public sector pay and pension bill, if there is no agreement on an extension of the Croke Park Agreeement.

Mr Hayes said cuts must be achieved and the Government wants it to be done in a way that is fair to all parties, who he is urging to engage in the talks.

It comes after up to 4,000 frontline workers gathered in Dublin last night to voice their anger at the proposed cuts.

Minister Hayes said if no agreement is reached, then a total package of cuts focused on the public sector pay structure would have to be legislated for.

He said: "Some elements within that structure, such as overtime, weekend rates, premium pay and all the rest of it would have to be looked at.

"The budget there is about €750m, we simply can't get the savings of €1bn by excluding that area, so it is better if we find agreement in terms of the talks rather than having some imposed settlement."

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