Gardaí doing better on pay than most public service colleagues

Average weekly earnings up 5% but hours worked also up 4.4%, CSO figures show

No wonder the rest of the public service aren't happy with the Labour Court decision in relation to Garda pay and the Government's's decision to accept it. The latest official figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the gardaí are already doing better than most. Average weekly earnings in the force are 5 per cent up in annual terms in the third quarter, compared to an average public sector rise of 1 per cent. At a time when prices have been effectively flat, this is no small increase.

The detail of the figures show that much of the increase relates to extra hours worked. The annual change in hourly earnings in the gardaí is 0.7 per cent, compared to a public sector average of just 0.1 per cent. However, hours worked by the gardaí rose by 4.4 per cent. The detail suggests that much of the rise was additional overtime.

Still, the rise in gardaí pay stands out in an overall sense, too. The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show that average weekly earnings across the economy were 1.2 per cent higher in the third quarter of the year than in the same period last year. They edged up by 0.2 per cent during the quarter. With unemployment falling so rapidly, you might have expected wage growth to be a bit quicker – and in some sectors it is – but the overall picture remains that earnings growth is subdued.


As Davy Stockbrokers pointed out in a note, employees are at least benefiting from wages increasing faster than inflation. Over the past year, the latest CSO figures show prices increasing on average by just 0.1 per cent. Still, real living standards are just inching ahead on average, though in construction, with a 5.7 per cent rise, and professional scientific and technical activities, up 4.9 per cent, the increases are more significant. And in the public sector, the gardaí have got similar levels of increase in earnings.


Now the Government, like private sector employers, faces the dilemma as to what level of increases is appropriate in an era when zero inflation appears, for the moment anyway, to be here to stay.