Statement from ICTU Public Service Committee
Following intensive discussions facilitated by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), public service trade unions have concluded an agreement with the Government which will see the protections of the Haddington Road Agreement extended to September 2018, and include a phased restoration of pay during the lifetime of the two-year agreement.
The pay element of the agreement will restore a total of around €2,000 to most public servants over three payment phases between January 2016 and September 2017. The pay restoration will be achieved through a combination of adjustments to the public service pension levy and a partial reversal of the 2010 public service pay cuts.
The agreement focuses on oversight arrangements, dispute resolution and – importantly from a trade union perspective – outsourcing protections. The agreement achieves the essential objective of fairness, while at the same time offering greater benefit to lower paid public servants by using a flat rate pay adjustment.
Subject to the ratification of the agreement by members of the affiliated unions, the phases of pay restoration will occur as follows:
PHASE ONE: 1st January – The pension levy threshold (the salary amount above which the levy is payable) increases to €24,750 (from the current threshold of €15,000).
Annualised salaries up to €24,000 will increase by 2.5% through a partial reversal of the 2010 public service pay cut. Annualised salaries between €24,001 and €31,000 will increase by 1% via the same mechanism.
PHASE TWO: 1st September – Pension levy threshold increases to €28,750.
The combination of these measures in 2016 will improve all public service full time incomes by around €1,000 per annum.
PHASE THREE: 1st September – Annualised salaries up to €65,000 increase by €1,000 per annum.
Pay restoration for staff earning more than €65,000 negotiated as part of the Haddington Road Agreement (HRA) will apply on 1st April 2017 and 1st January 2018.
The unions used the opportunity of these talks to raise a number of issues with the management side, including professional registration fees including CORU and the NMBI for the lifetime of the agreement, job evaluation in the health and education sectors and the contents of service level agreements for funded agencies. More details of these will be circulated by individual unions in the near future.
Provision has also been made to regularise 1,300 interns in the health service whose jobs will now be made permanent over an agreed period.
Individual unions will be consulting with their respective executives to consider the outcome of the talks, in advance of a ballot of their members on the terms of the proposed agreement.