Battle for pay increases set to take centre stage in 2020

With exchequer revenue €3.5bn higher than a year ago, Paschal Donohoe will do well to see off higher public sector pay claims

Patricia King: she has urging unions dealing with private sector employers to seek pay increases of between 3.5% and 4.5%  next year. Photograph: Alan Betson

Patricia King: she has urging unions dealing with private sector employers to seek pay increases of between 3.5% and 4.5% next year. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The ICTU this week laid out its stall on pay, with general secretary Patricia King urging unions dealing with private sector employers to seek increases of between 3.5 per cent and 4.5 per cent next year.

This is a multiple of the 1 per cent inflation figure forecast by most commentators for next year, Brexit or no Brexit.

And it is well ahead of the 2 per cent rise pencilled in for public servants from October next (those earning up to €32,000 will benefit from an extra 0.5 per cent rise on January 1st).

Danny McCoy, chief executive of employers’ group Ibec, said the increase being sought looks “too high”. He argues that it should reflect productivity growth, which runs at between 2 per cent and 2.5 per cent.

Employers would argue that this is not the time to pump up wages when employers are faced with the threats of Brexit, Trump’s tariff wars, a German economy on the edge of recession and the small matter of a general election here some time in the next six months.

Yet, data from the CSO would suggest that private sector workers are already receiving pay increases of the level suggested by King. According to the CSO, there was an year-on-year increase in average weekly earnings in the private sector of 3.9 per cent to €708.24 in the third quarter.

This compared with a rise in the public sector (including semi-State entities) of 1.3 per cent. However, public servants are paid more on average, with the figure rising to €972.45 in the third quarter. They also have better pension provision on average than their private sector counterparts.

In spite of this, we can expect public sector unions to make a play for higher increases next year. With exchequer revenue €3.5 billion higher than a year ago, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe will do well to see off these claims.

Especially as the Government caved in to nurses, demands earlier this year at a cost to the exchequer of about €48 million.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
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.
Screen Name Selection

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.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
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.