Public unions want deteriorations in pay rolled back quickly

Unions say this does not just involve cuts to basic pay but ‘other disimprovements’

Public service trade unions have said they want all deterioration in remuneration experienced by their members following the economic crash rolled back as quickly as possible.

In a submission to the Government's new Public Service Pay Commission, the unions said this did not just involve cuts to basic pay but also "other disimprovements including starting pay for new entrants, additional unremunerated working time, changes in overtime rates and other more specific measures".

The public services committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions said it was aware such restoration would involve a financial cost and could, therefore, "only happen as increased exchequer resources become available, as is now happening".

“However, in any discussions that follow the publication of the Public Service Pay Commission’s initial report, it will be our intention to list all matters for negotiation.”


In the submission the ICTU said the focus of talks with the Government on foot of the commission’s report “must be the acceleration of the unwinding of financial emergency legislation (Fempi, which underpinned public service pay cuts) and related measures.

“Our objective will be to reach an agreement that will establish when the overwhelming bulk of public servants will cease to be subject to Fempi impositions.

Fiscal position

“Most public servants accept that the loss of income and disimprovements in working conditions that they experienced in this period cannot be put right in one fell swoop or in a very short timeframe. However, the country’s economic and fiscal position is improving.

“The issue to be determined is the willingness of the State as an employer to do this, rather than its capacity to act.”

The submission said the simple removal of the Fempi legislation without any other actions would be of little or no benefit to public servants on the lowest incomes, “while delivering substantial benefits to the small number of highly paid public servants”.

The public service unions said any comparisons the commission would make between public service pay and private sector and overseas rates of remuneration, would “not be credible or acceptable unless they are conducted on a genuine like-for-like comparison basis”.

They said any international comparisons must be comparisons of equivalent jobs or work of equal value, and must take account of the cost of living in the countries being reviewed.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

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