Varadkar says public service pay and reforms to form part of new talks

With inflation at 5 per cent Tánaiste says it is reasonable for issue to pay to be raised

Speaking on RTÉ, Mr Varadkar said that when the last agreement for public servants was negotiated inflation was projected to be very low, but has increased since. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Speaking on RTÉ, Mr Varadkar said that when the last agreement for public servants was negotiated inflation was projected to be very low, but has increased since. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

The Government expects salary increases for public servants to form part of new pay talks which will commence in Autumn.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said on Sunday that with rising inflation, it was inevitable that any negotiations for a new agreement between the Government and public service unions would include pay hikes.

Speaking on RTÉ, Mr Varadkar said that when the last agreement was negotiated inflation was projected to be very low, maybe between zero and two per cent.

“It’s now 5 per cent. So it is reasonable that they would come forward now and say that we need to look at this pay deal again. But that would have to be negotiated. And it’s absolutely the case that if the government were to agree to any further pay increases this year, that we would be looking for something in return particularly around productivity.

“What I anticipate is that at some point over the course of the year, we’ll need to negotiate a successor agreement to the existing agreement that was planned anyway. And of course pay will form part of that. But we’ll also want to talk about productivity and about public service reform.”

Asked could that mean extra working hours, he replied that was not necessarily the case.

“It could mean additional flexibilities, it could mean changes in working practices. But this is the normal course of events. We negotiate a public sector pay deal every couple of years.”

On the Government’s decision to give a €100 rebate on energy bills to householders because of fossil fuel inflation, he said that the funds would not be transferred in January as the change needed legislation.

“It could be March but I think it could be before then. It does depend on where and how often you get your bill of course, but it does require some legislation and will definitely be done in the first quarter of this year,” he said.

“I do want to say that the government very much recognises that inflation is very high. The cost of living is impacting on businesses, on people. A lot of households are struggling to make ends meet. And there are a lot of things we can do to help with the cost of living.”