Public sector pay talks to begin at WRC
Talks on a new public sector pay deal involving unions, staff associations and the Government are due to begin at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) today.
Last week, unions accepted an invitation from the Government to enter talks, but said they want to focus on a short-term agreement.
They also expressed disappointment at the Government’s response to their request for clarity on the upcoming negotiations.
The Public Services Committee (PSC) of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) wrote to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe seeking clarity on whether the talks will include discussions around the removal of emergency industrial relations legislation introduced during the financial crisis.
Unions believe the legislation has given the Department of Public Expenditure too much power when it comes to industrial disputes and has made it difficult for individual sectors and grades to have issues addressed outside of the scope of existing pay deals.
The unions said they were surprised at the minister’s response that he was not aware of any practical impact that the legislation had had has on the conduct of normal industrial relations in the public service.
The PSC said it will concentrate on trying to reach agreement on short-term pay measures to address cost-of-living and labour market pressures.
Mr Donohoe has said that he is willing to engage, in the context of the WRC, on the issue of the last remaining elements of the 2009 emergency legislation.
If the talks are successful, it will mean a pay increase for 385,000 public servants including nurses, doctors, gardaí and teachers.
The current public sector pay deal ‘Building Momentum’ is due to expire at the end of the year.