Outcome of public sector pay talks

 

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:

2016

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.

2017

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.

 

Public Service negotiations commence

SIPTU representatives are about to enter discussions with public service employers for the restoration of pay for union members who have suffered severe reductions in income over the past number of years.

SIPTU will also seek the alleviation of the Pension Levy imposed on all members in the public service during this time.

Other issues, including the ending of the moratorium on recruitment and the consequent out-sourcing of many public service jobs, will also feature in these discussions.

In addition, there are a number of sectoral matters involving our members in health, education, local authorities and state related bodies which need to be addressed to our satisfaction.

The negotiations will commence at 2.30 p.m. today (Tuesday 19th May) at Lansdowne House, Dublin 4, under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission and are expected to continue for some weeks.

To see Paul Bell outline SIPTU position on pay talks please log in to SIPTUhealth Plus

Low paid workers must be focus of pay talks

Pay talks for health workers must focus on the low paid and cannot be linked to demands for further improvements in productivity was the message from the ‘Ending the Emergency – SIPTU Health Division Conference’, held in the Mansion House Dublin on Thursday, 23rd April.

Addressing delegates at the conference SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “Looking to the future we believe that the Government working with SIPTU have an opportunity to commence a journey which will see the closing of the gap between low to middle income earners and those at the top.

“This position is not just about pay and economics its about our society going forward.”

Bell was responding to an earlier address by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, in which he stated that talks between public sector unions and the Government, which are expected to begin in May, “in the first instance will concentrate on ensuring the lower paid public servant benefits proportionately better.”

In her presentation to the conference SIPTU national Campaigns and Equality Organiser, Ethel Buckley, outlined the union’s plans for SIPTUhealth.ie and the progress that has been made on the site so far.

SIPTUhealth.ie was launched in October 2014 in response to members demand for their own dedicated communications platform. In only seven months we have had 89,000 visits to the website. We put out a 100-day user survey recently to members to get their feedback on what we can do to improve the content and layout of the site. Members feedback is being actioned and we are very encouraged by their contribution.”

She also said that members would be kept informed of development during the upcoming talks process with the government through a phone bank system, which was currently being developed as part of the union’s campaign in support of the marriage equality referendum on Twitter and SIPTU Health Plus.

Other issues that were focused upon at the conference were ensuring, that the 1,300 health workers in support services on Intern contracts are made permanent.

There were also calls for the practice of issuing zero hours contracts for those working in community sector home care services to be ended along with the outsourcing of support service positions to for profit private companies.

Among the other speakers at the conference were Orlagh Fawl of the SIPTU Strategic Organising Department, Dr. Thomas Stephen, a health policy expert based at Trinity College Dublin and Dr. Micheál Collins of the Nevin Economic Research Institute.

For videos of the conference click on the text below.