Pay commission cannot be substitute for collective bargaining – Impact

Conference hears that commission cannot be used to treat some groups more equally than others

 Impact’s general secretary said all workers in the public service had their pay cut together under financial emergency legislation, known as Fempi (Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest). Photograph: Alan Betson

Impact’s general secretary said all workers in the public service had their pay cut together under financial emergency legislation, known as Fempi (Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest). Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The country’s largest public service trade union has said it will not accept the Government’s planned new Public Service Pay Commission as a substitute for pay rounds negotiated through collective bargaining.

Addressing the biennial conference of the trade union Impact in Killarney, its deputy general secretary Kevin Callinan also maintained it would never accept the proposed commission as a means for some groups to “circumvent agreements and be treated more equally than others”.

He highlighted a report in The Irish Times this week that some Government figures believed that special increases should be awarded to categories of public servants who were “in demand” and where there were shortages of staff.

“In case they (the Government ) don’t get it, let me make it very clear; Impact is not leaving anyone behind on the journey to pay recovery.”

Mr Callinan said all workers in the public service had their pay cut together under financial emergency legislation, known as Fempi (Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest).

“We were all Fempied together and we will all exit from Fempi together.”

Impact general secretary Shay Cody warned that a return to leap-frogging claims by public service groups would “inevitably generate public hostility and risk a renewed outbreak of the public v private conflict that ultimately did so much damage to workers in both sector during the crisis years”.

Mr Cody urged the continuation of an overall approach to pay determination that covered all public service grades and professions and “considered all the issues in the round”.

“Every claim conceded leaves fewer resources to meet others”, he said.

Mr Cody said leap-frogging claims in the past often rewarded the strongest rather than the most vulnerable or deserving.

“It is not always correct to assume that those able to articulate the most compelling case to journalists, politicians or the public necessarily have the strongest claim either to past injustice or future improvement.

“Moreover, seemingly straightforward solutions to even the most deeply-felt grievances can have unintended consequences.”