No pay improvement for Ministers up to 2022

Public servants outside pay deal face nine-month delay in salary increases

Members of the TUI and the ASTI picketing during a strike in 2014. Members of the INTO, the TUI and the ASTI have all rejected the public service pay accord. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Members of the TUI and the ASTI picketing during a strike in 2014. Members of the INTO, the TUI and the ASTI have all rejected the public service pay accord. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Tens of thousands of public service staff who are outside the new pay deal face potential delays of nine months in securing scheduled salary rises unless they back the agreement.

They will also forfeit increments due to them if they do not declare before Christmas that they will be bound by the majority decision of public service unions to accept the deal.

Members of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) and the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) have all rejected the public service pay accord which was negotiated in the summer and ratified by the public services committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) several weeks ago.

The Cabinet on Tuesday agreed to the publication of new public service pay and pensions legislation to give effect to the terms of the deal.

The Cabinet also agreed that the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Ministers, Ministers of State and the Attorney General would not benefit from any further unwinding of pay cuts for public service personnel up to 2022.

The Government is also to hold talks with GPs, pharmacists, dentists and other health contractors in 2018 on fees, service delivery and contact reforms.

Statutory basis

The Department of Health said the Government had also agreed to put the setting and varying of fees for contractors on a statutory basis.

“In future, the relevant Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, will have the statutory power to set and vary the fees paid to contractors for goods and services, based on a range of considerations including affordability and value for money,” it said.

“Given that the State often engages in long-term contracts for the provision of services to citizens, it is vital that the interests of the taxpayer are protected through fluctuations in the economic cycle.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Public Expenditure said unions would have to declare either to the Workplace Relations Commission or to the public services committee of Ictu in the weeks ahead whether they will be bound by the majority decision of public service groups to back the new pay accord. This information in turn would have to be passed on to the Government for payroll purposes before the New Year.

Groups that do not subscribe to the new public service pay deal will face a nine-month delay in the payment of increases due under the accord. At the same time, increments would be frozen until 2020 while the existing pension levy deductions, which were reformed under the agreement, would also remain in place as at present until 2020.

Statutory road map

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe said the new legislation represented the statutory road map for the unwinding of financial emergency legislation as it affected the remuneration of public servants, the pensions of retired public servants and contractor fees in respect of services provided to the State by health professionals and others.

The new Lansdowne Road II pay agreement provided increases ranging from 6.2 per cent to 7.4 per cent over the three -year period 2018 to 2020.

The deal provided for the first pay improvements of 1 per cent to come into effect next January. A further 1 per cent rise was is due to follow in October 2018.