Public servants seek early review to restore pay

‘The financial emergency is long over, and our members played no small part in ensuring our economic recovery was secured’

Higher civil and public servants are to seek an early review of the current public service agreement and for the current schedule for restoring pay that was previously cut to be accelerated.

Speaking ahead of the annual conference of the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants ( AHCPS) on Friday, its general secretary Ciaran Rohan said it was 11 years since his members last had a pay increase.

He said it would be 13 years by the time the final scheduled restoration payment of cuts made under financial emergency legislation ( Fempi) was processed, in 2021.

“Since the Fempi cuts were introduced, the cost of living has increased by 6 per cent and it continues to rise, and the cost of everyday essentials like housing, food and childcare is also increasing.”


“It is widely accepted and acknowledged that higher paid members of the civil and public service are earning less than they would be if they were in the private sector, and that gap is only widening. “

He said a report the union commissioned in 2017 concluded that the salary of a principal officer would need to be increased by between 38 per cent (base pay) and 60 per cent (total pay) to match the equivalent in terms of the private sector.

“The financial emergency is long over, and our members played no small part in ensuring that our economic recovery was secured. Now we are simply looking for an even playing field for our members in terms of pay restoration, and improvements to our terms and conditions that will support members to progress in their careers, irrespective of their family circumstances.

“We are also still acutely aware of the retirement cliff that continues to face grades we represent. At least 39 per cent of principal officers and 33 per cent of assistant principal officers are aged 55 and over.

“In terms of planning, it needs to be recognised that a significant proportion of senior public servants will soon leave the workforce and that the terms and conditions need to be attractive enough to attract applicants, and flexible enough to facilitate progression,” he said.

The association, which represents more than 3,000 members at assistant principal officer and principal officer level in the civil and pubic sector, will also hear calls at its conference for the return of flexible working hours for grades that it represents.

The conference will also consider proposals that civil servants at the grades represented by the AHCPS should be entitled to engage in political activity. This is not currently allowed under the Civil Service Code of Conduct.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent