Teachers and gardaí criticise new public service pay deal

GRA says requirement for gardaí to pay more for pensions ‘deeply disappointing’

About 23,000 State employees  will benefit least from the proposed new agreement

About 23,000 State employees will benefit least from the proposed new agreement

 

Teachers and gardaí have criticised elements of a draft public service pay deal under which 300,000 State employees will see their pay increase by between 6.2 and 10 per cent over a three year period.

The proposed deal, reached after 13 days of talks between worker representatives and Government negotiators, is expected to cost some €880million over its lifespan but will need to be ratified by trade union members, a process unlikely to conclude until the autumn.

Under the proposed deal, some 250,000 public sector workers will receive pay rises of 6.2 to 7.4 per cent and a further 50,000 staff recruited since 2013, and who have a less generous pension scheme, will receive pay improvements of 7 per cent and 10 per cent over the three -year period.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland executive committee said provisions in the deal to tackle an issue in schools where more recently recruited teachers are paid less than longer serving colleagues were “wholly inadequate” and it would recommend its members reject the proposal. The committee said it was “completely unacceptable” that colleagues were paid significantly different rates for carrying out the same work.

“The draft proposed agreement would have the effect of blocking further progress for at least three years,” TUI president Joanne Irwin said. “At a time when schools are struggling to attract teachers for an increasing number of subjects due to more lucrative options in other employments, the process of full pay equalisation requires urgent acceleration, not delay.”

Adequate

However, Government sources argued that pay levels for new entrants - including a €35,000 salary for new teachers - were adequate.

Under the draft deal, a continuation of the Lansdowne Road agreement, about 23,000 State employees such as gardaí who have faster accruing pensions will benefit least, and the Garda Representative Association last night said “it cannot be a foregone conclusion that this will be acceptable to our membership.”

GRA general secretary Pat Ennis said the draft agreement would be considered by the association’s executive at its next scheduled meeting.

However, he maintained: “It cannot be a foregone conclusion that this will be acceptable to our membership.”

“People who risk their lives and routinely encounter the most traumatic of human experience should be afforded a quality of life for such service to the State and our communities.”

“Gardaí have transformed working patterns and provided efficiencies since the pay cuts of 2009 were imposed, yet this proposal asks us to give a blanket agreement to further open-ended productivity measures not yet invented - coming from the Commission on the Future of Policing that will not report for another 18 months,” he said.

Daily dangers

Mr Ennis said GRA members faced daily dangers on behalf of the people of Ireland, and they would now “be effectively taxed around €575 each year for the privilege - at a time when all other public servants are having pay restored”.

Mick Corcoran, a member of the GRA national executive from Cork, said the draft deal appeared “to be penalising us” for a pay deal reached with the Government to avert a threatened strike last year.

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe said the proposed deal awarded pay increases in an affordable manner, put pension provision “on a more sustainable footing” and would also “secure industrial peace”.