Cabinet expected to grant Mulvey request for more negotiations time with unions

Croke Park II process to come to a head by Friday

Kevin Mulvey chief executive of the LRC, is expected to get more time to talk to unions

Kevin Mulvey chief executive of the LRC, is expected to get more time to talk to unions

Tue, May 7, 2013, 02:00

The Cabinet is expected to grant a request by Labour Relations Commission chief executive Kieran Mulvey for more time to liaise with unions on proposals to cut the public service pay bill by €1 billion by 2015.

Informed sources say Mr Mulvey’s report to the Government today will be an interim rather than final document. He will seek an extra few days to talk to key figures in the labour movement, notably Siptu members whose votes tipped the balance against acceptance of the Croke Park II proposals.

Mr Mulvey is also expected to have further contact with the Garda Representative Association which walked out of talks on Croke Park II and other Garda bodies. The GRA, which represents rank-and-file gardaí, did not invite the Minister for Justice to its annual conference in Westport, Co Mayo.

The Coalition also appears to have turned down an appeal for a commission to examine Garda pay and conditions – a key GRA demand.

Critical point
Allowing space for Mr Mulvey to hold further discussions with the unions and to conclude his final report to the Government means that the Croke Park II process will reach a critical point by the end of this week.

The head of Ictu, David Begg, has called for the unions and the Government not to “tear the country apart” over Croke Park II and the drive to cut the State pay and pensions bill by €300 million this year alone.

He said union members who were not prepared to accept any cuts in pay or changes in working conditions were not being realistic.

The Government is standing by its claim that in the failure to reach agreement, legislation could be quickly enacted to reduce the public sector pay bill, prompting a wave of industrial unrest including a series of damaging strikes.

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin is expected to bring proposals before Cabinet on May 14th for legislation to cut the pay bill in the event of failure.

Mr Begg’s intervention highlights the difficulty faced by Mr Mulvey in his efforts to find some common ground between the unions who voted against a new Croke Park deal and the Government which is wedded to cutting public service costs.