Additional hours sought under pay talk proposals
Members of the 24/7 Frontline Services Alliance comprised of workers from five organisations in Tallaght for a rally on Monday to highlight their opposition to Government plans to cut pay. Photograph: Bryan O'Brien/Irish Times
Thousand of staff across the public service would have to work additional hours per week under proposals put forward tonight by the Labour Relations Commission as part of talks on an extension to the Croke Park agreement.
The proposals set down that there would be minimum of 37 hours which staff would have to work and a maximum of 39 hours.
Staff currently working 35 hours per week or less would move to a 37 hour week net of all breaks. Those currently working more than 35 hours would move to 39 hours net of breaks.
There would be no change in the working week for staff currently working 39 hours. However if employees in this category worked overtime, one hour of this would be provided free of charge.
The Labour Relations Commission has suggested that public service management should put forward proposals to allow staff who wanted to remain on their existing hours to do so for a period. However they would face a reduction in pay.
“The actual implementation of these proposals will require detailed consultation at workplace level in order to maximise the capacity to accommodate issues for affected individuals.”
The Labour Relations Commission proposal also stated that in the case of teachers the proposed elimination of supervision and substitution payments would “allow for additional arrangements for various absences and will provide a further two hours and fifteen minutes in the context of these changes”.
“ The Commission will engage over the next twenty four hours with the parties in third level education to finalise an appropriate proposition analogous to the proposition above for teachers.”
Informed sources said that the Labour Relations Commission document as a set of proposals for the Government and trade unions to consider. The document does not represent an agreement.
Talks between Government representatives and public service unions have now adjourned and will resume in the morning.
One of the main issues to be considered will be proposals by the Government to cut pay for higher earners. The threshold for the pay cut is expected to be in the region of €60,000 - €70,000.
The document presented this evening is the first set of proposals drawn up by the Labour Relations Commission in the current talks process.
The Government has repeated its call for a freeze in incremental pay increases for staff across the public service. Union sources said management had not changed its position on increments. Unions are opposed to the move.
Meanwhile, revelations that the Department of Health is to seek a pay review for the head of the HSE while the Government is seeking pay cuts elsewhere is a slight on public service workers, the Irish Medical Organisation has said.
Its director of industrial relations Steve Tweed said the reports today of the forthcoming pay review it was not helpful as talks continued on Government plans to cut its paybill by €300 million this year.
"When our members are being asked to make significant sacrifices on their salaries, significant sacrifice to their standards of living and a significant sacrifice on their hours if work, while at the same time the chief executive -designate of the HSE is on a salary of €198,000, and the Department of Health sees the need to increase that, it is unfortunate to say the least," Mr Tweed said.
The Irish Times has learned the Department of Health is to seek a review of the pay for the head of the Health Service Executive, Tony O’Brien.