Civil servants set to seek pay rises in 2015 if public finances continue to improve

PSEU president says Government priority should be on restoring pay, not tax cuts

Brendan Lawless, president of the PSEU, addressing the conference in Killarney yesterday. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

Brendan Lawless, president of the PSEU, addressing the conference in Killarney yesterday. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

 

Public service unions are set to seek pay increases for members next year if public finances continue to improve.

The union representing mid-ranking civil servants yesterday demanded that the Government should give priority to restoring their pay and conditions of employment before introducing any general tax cuts.

Addressing its annual delegate conference in Killarney, president of the Public Service Executive Union (PSEU) Brendan Lawless said a disproportionate amount of the burden of repairing the public finances had fallen on public servants. “If the Government has scope for easing on austerity we want our money back.”

Mr Lawless said in better circumstances the people subjected to pay cuts and disimprovements in conditions who had paid a disproportionate amount for our economic collapse were entitled to be first in the queue for any restoration.

“More than that, though, the message needs to go from public servants to the political system that tax cuts damage the ability to deliver public services, while those who have suffered disproportionately from austerity through income cuts and longer working hours deserve and indeed demand that they be treated fairly and that they begin restoration of their losses at the earliest opportunity.”

Delegates passed motions calling on the union’s executive to engage in negotiations aimed at reversing pay cuts and the longer working week.

The Government’s position has been that the Haddington Road deal put in place last year locked down the issue of public service pay until mid-2016.

The PSEU is the latest union to signal the Government could face claims for increases before the scheduled expiry of the deal. A number of weeks ago president of Siptu Jack O’Connor indicated it could lodge pay claims on behalf of its public service members if there was growth in the economy.

General secretary of the PSEU Tom Geraghty told delegates the Irish Congress of Trade Unions had informed the Government during the Haddington Road talks it reserved the right to lodge a pay claim in the lifetime of the deal if circumstances permitted.