Union members need time to reflect, says Gilmore
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has predicted the national pay deal negotiations will be the last recessionary talks because the economy will have improved by the time a new agreement is due.
Mr Gilmore also called on political parties to “stand back” from the public sector pay process while proposals for a new deal were put to a ballot of workers.
“This agreement will run to 2016. This will, I believe, be the last set of negotiations of this kind where the negotiations are focused on reductions and cuts and so on,” he said.
“I believe that when trade unions sit around the table again to negotiate a replacement of this agreement that we will be in a different place economically and those discussions will be about the improvement of conditions.”
Mr Gilmore was speaking at the Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday evening, following a meeting with the European Parliament’s lead negotiator on the EU budget MEP Alain Lamassoure.
Mr Gilmore responded to Sinn Féin’s call on the public service unions to reject the proposed deal by saying political parties should give “space” to union members to allow them to consider how they wanted to vote.
“I think all of us should now respect the fact that trade unions have to consider the outcome of these negotiations and the members of trade unions will have to reflect and make their decisions in the course of ballots,” Mr Gilmore said.
“I have always believed, both in respect of this agreement and its predecessor, that it is best if political parties stand back from that process and give to the people who work in our public services the respect and space in order to make a decision.”
Mr Gilmore said he was glad the discussions had concluded yesterday and there was a set of proposals from the Labour Relations Commission which would be considered by unions.