Pay talks to resume as Government may not achieve target

Hayes says Government will stick rigidly to target of €1 billion in savings by 2015

Minister of State Brian Hayes has given the Government’s first public indication that it may not generate €300 million in savings on the public service pay and pensions bill this year under talks on a revision to the Croke Park II deal.

Minister of State Brian Hayes has given the Government’s first public indication that it may not generate €300 million in savings on the public service pay and pensions bill this year under talks on a revision to the Croke Park II deal.

Mon, May 20, 2013, 08:50

Talks on a revised public sector pay agreement at the Labour Relations Commission later today amid fresh doubts over the Government’s savings target.

Minister of State Brian Hayes has given the Government’s first public indication that it may not generate €300 million in savings on the public service pay and pensions bill this year under talks on a revision to the Croke Park II deal.

He said yesterday that the key issue for the Government would be to secure €1 billion in savings by 2015.

He said the €300 million target was still an ambition. However, some trade unions had advanced alternative proposals and he said these may not deliver the full level of savings for this year, but could produce them by 2014 or 2015.


Budgetary arithmetic
Reports yesterday suggested that the Government may save €250 million this year. However, other sources indicated the figure could be closer to €200 million.

Mr Hayes said the Government would be “rigidly sticking” to its target of generating €1 billion in savings on its pay and pensions bill by 2015. The Government has previously maintained that its budgetary arithmetic for the year was based on saving €300 million on its pay and pensions bill.

Doubts over the target came as it emerged that the Coalition has agreed to enter into a process with unions on the payment of bonuses for senior Civil Service staff who carry out significant levels of work on the Irish EU presidency.

The Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants (AHCPS) told members that as part of proposals on a revised Croke Park deal, reached at the Labour Relations Commission last week, there would be “a process to rectify the EU presidency allowance”.

Government and union sources suggested that following previous EU presidencies, some staff received special payments of up to €4,000 in some cases.

There was no reference to any EU presidency payments for staff in the Croke Park II pact which was rejected by the AHCPS among other public service unions.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform declined to comment on how much would be paid in EU presidency payments and how many staff would get them.

It said: “Public service management has agreed . . . to examine any case brought by the AHCPS in relation to their members who have undertaken significant presidency related work, which has occasioned significant extra/anti-social workloads, in the first half of this year. It will be a matter for the AHCPS to raise the issue with management in the first instance.”


Freeze on increments
Full details of concessions made to unions under the revisions to Croke Park II proposals have not been published.

However, the Government has dropped its proposed three-year freeze on increments for staff earning between €65,000 and €100,000. Increments will now be paid after a six-month pause. The Government has also agreed to continue to pay double time premium rates for Sunday work to gardaí and nurses in return for savings elsewhere.

Teaching unions will meet Government representatives today as part of a first engagement since staff in the sector voted overwhelmingly to reject the Croke Park II process.

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email to verify your account.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.