1,200 civil servants earning over €70,000 receive pay increments
MORE THAN 1,200 staff in the Civil Service on salaries in excess of €70,000 per year are receiving incremental pay increases, according to new official figures released last night.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said that overall 12,463 staff in the Civil Service are this year due to receive either an annual increment or a long-service increment. He said the number of civil servants due to receive increments next year would fall to 11,280.
The Minister said about 10 per cent of staff who receive increments are earning salaries of more than €70,000. He said 76 per cent of employees who receive increments had salaries of less than €50,000.
The details were provided in letters sent by the Minister to TDs Seán Fleming of Fianna Fáil and Independent Stephen Donnelly. Both deputies asked parliamentary questions in recent months about the payment of increments.
The data provided by the Minister showed that the largest group of staff in the Civil Service who are due to receive increments this year – more than 8,600 – receive salaries of between €25,000 and €50,000.
Mr Howlin, in his letters, again defended the payment of increments which has been criticised by Ministers such as Leo Varadkar. “The data confirms my view that the vast majority of persons who are on incremental pay scales are the lower-paid and people who have been recruited to the public service more recently.”
“On this basis, there are fairer ways to control the cost of public pay, given that only a proportion of public servants, in particular lower-paid and front-line staff, would be affected by a suspension of increments.”
Mr Howlin said the suspension of increments would have the effect of reducing pay, “particularly for the groups with long incremental scales and relatively flat promotional structures, in particular teachers, clerical staff and the Garda Síochána”.
Meanwhile, a review of more than 800 allowances paid to staff across the public service which has been carried out over recent months by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is expected to be considered by the Cabinet today.
However, informed sources said last night that given the complexity of the issue as well as the number of items on the Cabinet agenda, it was unlikely that a decision would be taken today by the Government on the issue.
Some unions have warned that any move to cut existing allowances would be in breach of the Croke Park agreement.
The Government currently pays out about €1.5 billion on allowances for staff each year. It has set a target of making savings of €75 million this year.