Top public sector staff escape 10% pay cuts

 

NEW ENTRANTS appointed to senior positions in the public service will not have the 10 per cent pay reduction announced by the Government last December applied to them.

However, the 10 per cent reduction is to be put in place for staff appointed to standard entry grades in the public service such as clerical, executive and administrative officers in the Civil Service, gardaí, teachers, lecturers, nurses, doctors, social workers, therapists, assistant engineers and fire officers.

On December 2nd last, the Government decided that the salary scale and fixed allowances for new entrants to the public service should be reduced by 10 per cent.

The move was aimed at achieving “a medium-term structural reduction in the cost of the public service with effect from January 1st this year”.

Department of Finance guidelines on applying the 10 per cent pay reduction state: “It is recognised that recruitment through open competition is now commonplace for many posts in the public service, which previously would have been filled, either wholly or primarily, by promotion of serving staff.

“Revised pay scales do not need to be prepared in respect of such other grades – even where the persons recruited are new entrants to the public service.”

Department guidelines state that such posts should be assessed on a case-by-case basis “to determine whether posts in such grades are at an appropriate level, whether any vacancies to be filled in these grades (including by redeployment) can be filled at lower level than previously”.

The guidelines state that the department should be consulted in all these cases before the recruitment process starts.

Informed sources said the reason for the different approaches to the pay reduction between those appointed at senior and junior levels was that at the higher level the competition would be open to both internal and external personnel while only those outside the public service would be competing for standard entry grade posts.

Sources said that difficulties in attracting suitably qualified staff for senior posts was also a factor in the decision.

The revised programme for government agreed between Fianna Fáil and the Green Party in the out-going administration states that “all senior positions in the public service to be open to people from the private sector”.

The Croke Park agreement on public service reform states that in order to achieve a high-performing, high productivity public service, “appropriately skilled personnel from outside the public service will be recruited to secure scarce and needed skills at all level”.