Siptu to urge members to back new public service pay agreement

Lansdowne Road deal supported by Impact and INTO, but opposed by IMO and TUI

The country's largest trade union, Siptu, is to urge its members to support the proposed new public service pay deal.

The union said its national executive council had concluded the proposed deal represented “reasonable progress towards the objective of recovering pay lost following the economic collapse of 2008”.

Siptu said its target of reducing the effect of the public service pension levy had also been addressed in the proposed new deal.

The union said the pay improvements in the new deal would apply from a date six months earlier than envisaged in the Haddington Road agreement.

“These together with the significant measures, outlined in the proposal, to strengthen the protections against outsourcing would be important steps towards rebuilding decent standards of employment in the public service,” it said.

“It may well be that State revenue returns for this year could exceed expectations. Equally, we cannot predict the rate of inflation over the later half of the tenure of the proposed agreement.

“However, it would be unwise to reject this proposal as the prospect of any additional benefit from re-negotiation would be out-weighted by the danger of forfeiture of some of the key elements envisaged in it. In any event if the proposal is accepted it is expected that negotiations on a successor would take place during 2017.”

The ballot of Siptu members is to be completed by July 23rd.

The new Lansdowne Road agreement on public service pay has so far been backed by the executive committees of the trade union Impact and the union representing primary school teachers, the INTO.

Impact said that in recommending acceptance of the deal in the ballot, the union’s executive “acknowledged that the new agreement achieved the essential objective of fairness by taking a flat rate approach to pay restoration”.

INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan said acceptance of the agreement was an opportunity to begin to recover income that had been lost through pay cuts and the public service pension levy. She said teachers had made a substantial contribution to Ireland's economic recovery and were entitled to see some restoration of income.

However the Irish Medical Organisation and the Teachers' Union of Ireland are to urge their members to reject the pay deal in forthcoming ballots.

The IMO said the proposed deal did not treat all workers fairly.

“This agreement does nothing to address the real crisis in our health services - the inability of the system to retain existing doctors and attract new doctors,” it said.

The TUI was concerned issues such as additional hours, which members had been required to work as part of productivity measures agreed under the previous Haddington Road and Croke Park agreement, were not reversed under the proposed new accord

The Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants (AHCPS) said earlier this week t the proposed new pay deal was “inequitable”.

Under the proposed deal, a planned € 1,000 salary increase in 2017 will only apply to staff earning less than €65,000.

The Irish Times reported last week that under 11th-hour revisions to the pay document put in place following talks between Ministers, original proposals to provide a €1,000 boost to those earning more than € 65,000 in the public service in 2017 were shelved.

The fate of the proposed agreement will be determined ultimately by the aggregate vote of all public service unions which are affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

Because of their size, if the deal was backed by Siptu, Impact and the INTO it would be be virtually certain of being endorsed by the public services committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.