Siptu votes for Haddington Road pay deal

Members of largest union pass public service agreement with 76% in favour

Members of the Republic’s largest union, Siptu, have voted in favour of the revised public service pay deal. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Members of the Republic’s largest union, Siptu, have voted in favour of the revised public service pay deal. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Thu, Jun 20, 2013, 19:05

Members of Siptu, the country’s largest trade union, have voted in favour of the Haddington Road agreement on public service pay.

The move represents a major boost for the Government in its bid to secure savings in its pay and pensions bill of €300 million this year and €1 billion over three years as part of an overall agreement with trade unions.

In April Siptu members voted to reject the Croke Park II proposals, a move which effectively killed off the proposed accord.

Siptu vice-president Patricia King welcomed the decision of members to accept the Haddington Road agreement in the ballot.

She said it followed a “ period of consultation and discussions among our members in the public service.

“We now hope that we can move on to implementing the reform process in order to improve the services for those who depend on them while protecting the jobs, terms and conditions of those who provide them.”

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and the Psychiatric Nurses Association are expected to announce the results of their ballots on the Haddington Road agreement today (FRI) as is the Garda Representative Association.

The union representing primary school teachers, the INTO, has already backed the new proposals in a ballot.

However members of the Unite trade union, which represents around 6,000 staff in the public service --largely in the education, health and local authority sectors -- have voted against the proposed new deal.

The executives of two teaching unions, the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) have effectively rejected the Haddington Road proposals on the basis that they represented little or no change over the Croke Park II proposals which their members rejected.

Neither teaching union currently has plans to ballot members on the Haddington Road proposals.

However the executives of the unions are schedueld to meet again on the issue today where they are also expected to consider legal advice on new emergency legislation introduced by the Government.

The Government has warned that it will invoke the new financial emergency legislation to impose cuts on grades represented by unions that reject the Haddington Road deal to secure the savings it is seeking.

Under the legislation unions that reject the proposals would see members lose out on increments due after the beginning of July.

The legislation would also allow the Government to introduce cuts in pay for those earning more than €65,000 and for Ministers to alter the non-core pay of staff that reject the Haddington Road proposals.

The union representing around 13,000 lower-paid civil servants, the Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU), has recommended its members to reject the Haddington Road agreement. Its ballot result is due next Wednesday.

Unlike the ballot on the Croke Park II proposals, on this occasion each union will make its own decision on the proposals. It will not be determined by an aggregrate vote of all public service unions.

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