Unions in pay talks oppose plan to allow more outsourcing
Government to set out pension reform plans during further discussions on Wednesday
Talks on a new public pay deal are taking place at the Workplace Relations Commission in Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.
Public service trade unions have signalled they will strongly oppose any reforms proposed by the Government that would facilitate more outsourcing of services.
It is understood that at the talks on the new public service pay deal the Government indicated that it wanted to remove measures which unions view as safeguards against the external provision of existing public services.
Sources said Government representatives had not given any details of specific services which it would want to outsource in the future.
Under the existing Lansdowne Road agreement, Government departments and agencies have to consult unions on any plans for outsourcing of services and, in such circumstances, the cost of labour must be excluded from the business case supporting such an initiative.
It is understood that as part of the talks on the new pay accord, the Government wants to be allowed to consider labour cost savings in the cost-benefit analysis of any future outsourcing plan.
Union sources said their position was not that there should be a blanket ban on outsourcing but that they would strongly oppose any removal of the curent safeguards.
Sources also said that talks on Tuesday regarding Government proposals to reform rostering arrangements ended inconclusively and that the management side had not tabled any specific proposals.
Meanwhile, the Government is expected on Wednesday to begin discussing highly controversial proposals to have some public service groups - which are considered to have more valuable pensions - contribute more for their pension benefits. Strong opposition is expected from groups such as gardaí.
The talks on Wednesday are also expected to feature the requirement for staff to work additional hours without extra payment - another highly controversial area for many unions.