New deal means cuts to public sector overtime, increments and salaries25/02/2013 - 11:53:32
Public sector workers face being forced to accept a €1bn savings plan after the Government warned it needed majority backing from trade unions.
Despite four major unions walking out of the pay talks, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin claimed all state employees will be bound by the deal.
Among the new arrangements will be cuts to overtime, increments and salaries.
“When it is agreed, this will be the new binding agreement on everybody,” Mr Howlin said.
The unions which walked out of the talks last night include the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), the Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU) and Unite.
The Garda Representative Association (GRA) and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) walked out when briefing sessions to start the negotiations were held several weeks ago.
The Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) was not involved in the process.
Mr Howlin joined the talks at around 7am this morning in a bid to get the deal over the line.
Union sources said some of the arrangements are:
:: Salary increments will be frozen for those earning over €65,000.
:: Overtime for Sunday shifts will be cut from double time to time and three quarters.
:: There will be graduated pay cuts between 5-10% for people earning over €65,000.
:: A longer working week of either 37 or 39 hours.
:: The abolition of Twilight Pay
Mr Howlin said proposals which “meet the targets we set out” have been sent to the unions and await majority support.
“I understand how difficult this whole process has been for trade unions,” he said.
“We are asking people to make another contribution to fixing our broken economy.”
Mr Howlin said the deal on the table was complex but when read people would see it was constructed in a way to impact on everybody in a fair way.
“No individual sector of the public service is in any way targeted,” he said.
“Everybody is asked to make a fair contribution and I’ve made it clear this will be the last contribution people will be asked to make.”
The Minister added: “At the end of the day it will be for the majority of the members of the public service to make this decision and I hope they will do that in a reflective way, understanding that this is a fair set of proposals and most of all a required set of proposals to bring about economic recovery.”
Minister Howlin said if the deal can be finally agreed then a “further significant step” will have been taken to restore Ireland’s economic solvency.
Minister Howlin claimed that the proposed pay and reform deal was "a fair and balanced agenda to repair our public finances".
Negotiations were conducted under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) in Dublin.
"The revised measures recommended by the LRC meet the budgetary targets of the Government and address many of the concerns expressed by the staff representatives during the negotiations," Mr Howlin said.
"All public sector workers have already made a significant contribution to our economic recovery, however, these further measures are absolutely required to achieve a sustainable payroll cost."
Ictu, the umbrella group for trade unions, said the deal would ensure public servants are less worse off than would have been the case.
"We have achieved far more through negotiation than we could have hoped to gain through protests, including measures to address the two-tier workforce and some movement on the so-called pension levy," said Shay Cody, chair of the Ictu public services committee.
The new public sector pay deal, taking over from the Croke Park agreement, will see higher earning staff take pay cuts of up to 10%.
The graduated salary hit will run from 5% for those paid more than €65,000 and up to the 10% figure for those on the top rung of €185,000.
On the salary increments, staff earning more than €65,000 will see a three-year freeze.
Employees on the lowest levels - wages of up to €35,000 - will see a three-month freeze while workers on average wages of €35,000-65,000 will see two three-month freezes.
The agreement is designed to run until 2016.
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