Government concerned at ‘domino effect’ of Garda strikes

Donohoe says solution to pay disputes must be through Lansdowne Road Agreement

 Minister for Public Expenditure and  Reform Paschal Donohoe speaks at a major international investment conference on priority capital investment areas for Ireland on Friday. More than 120 senior business and other delegates from diverse sectors in attendance to hear and engage with speakers from government, the EIB, the European Commission, and key national experts from the housing, energy and investment sectors.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe speaks at a major international investment conference on priority capital investment areas for Ireland on Friday. More than 120 senior business and other delegates from diverse sectors in attendance to hear and engage with speakers from government, the EIB, the European Commission, and key national experts from the housing, energy and investment sectors.

 

The Government is worried about the possible “domino effect” of the planned Garda strikes.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe said any solution to public sector strikes must be through the Lansdowne Road Agreement. Speaking in Dublin on Friday, Mr Donohoe said the Government accepted the cases for better conditions and pay put forward by many unions.

Asked specifically if the Garda could claim special case status he said each union claim was a special case and the Government was worried that anything agreed should “have respect” for those who were operating under the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Awarding pay increases “could have a domino effect” he said.

The Government’s public service pay policy is coming under mounting pressure on foot of the deal agreed for workers in Dublin Bus to end the current wave of strikes.

The new pay agreement at 3.75 per cent per year – or 11.25 per cent over three years – is considerably ahead of the 2.6 per cent average rise forecast for this year across the private sector and is almost identical to that secured by workers in the Luas light rail system after their industrial action earlier this year.

The new pay offer is also higher than the 8.25 per cent increase over three years which was recommended by the Labour Court but rejected by staff in Dublin Bus several weeks ago.

The National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) said it anticipated that the Dublin Bus settlement – which followed six days of strikes and more than 30 hours of talks at the Workplace Relations Commission – will now set a benchmark for workers in other parts of the State-owned transport sector, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann.

Workers in these two State-owned companies already have their own pay claims in the pipeline.

Closely watched

The higher-than-average pay award to workers in the State-owned Dublin Bus company is expected to be watched closely by gardaí and teachers who are opposed to the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

The accord – which is the centrepiece of the Government’s public service pay policy – provided for increases of about €2,000 each for public service staff by 2018.

However, the Government is facing the prospect of strike action by both gardaí and second-level teachers in ASTI who are opposed to the Lansdowne Road deal in the weeks ahead.