26 September 2023

IRELAND: Minister predicts difficult times ahead for PS pay deal

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Ireland’s Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has directed officials to begin exploratory discussions with unions and staff associations on a new pay deal, while admitting the negotiations were expected to be “difficult”.

Minister, Michael McGrath said the discussions would be held against a very challenging backdrop.

“The discussions must be cognisant of the multiple challenges that the country is currently facing, including the impact of rising inflation and the conflict in Ukraine,” Mr McGrath said.

However, he was still confident about a method of progress that could be “reasonable and fair to both Public Servants and taxpayers generally”.

Mr McGrath’s comments come as senior Public Servants agreed to press the Government in forthcoming talks for increases large enough to tackle record levels of inflation.

At the annual conference of the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants (AHCPS), a body representing more than 3,000 employees, several motions on pay and conditions were adopted.

The motions included support for a strategy ensuring future pay awards “adequately reflect the rapid cost-of-living increases that have eroded members’ living standards”.

The conference heard that while a two per cent rise was due under the current Building Momentum pay agreement this year, it was set against an inflation rate of 6.7 per cent.

Chair of the AHCPS executive, Trevor Noonan told the conference it was clear that there was not an immediate intention from the Government to fully meet the threat of pay erosion from inflation in terms of pay increases.

The approach to pay adopted by the AHCPS is of little surprise given a groundswell of unions signalling their intention to press for significant pay increases in both the private and public sectors.

Dublin, 8 May 2022

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