26 September 2023

IRELAND: Minister seeks shorter-term pay deals

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Ireland’s Minister responsible for the Public Service has said any future pay deal with Government workers should be shorter than the normal three-year term because of the current “extraordinary level of uncertainty”.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath noted that the existing public sector pay agreement, Building Momentum, was due to expire at the end of the year, but unions had triggered a review clause due to rising inflation.

Prior engagement between the Government and unions, which is required as part of the review clause, has taken place with a meeting between officials in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Public Services Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).

Mr McGrath (pictured) said he was meeting with his officials to discuss the options available to address public sector pay claims.

After that, he expects to bring a memorandum to the Government and, subject to the views of Government, he could embark on discussions with the public sector unions in the coming weeks.

“I certainly recognise the impact of the current level of inflation, but I don’t believe it is reasonable to think that pay alone can fully offset the impact of inflation,” Mr McGrath said.

Under the Building Momentum deal a further pay increase of one per cent is scheduled for October.

Inflation, which was projected to run at 2.2 per cent in the Budget calculations for this year, is now forecast to average 6.5 per cent for 2022 — the highest level in more than two decades.

This prompted the Public Services Committee of ICTU to write to Mr McGrath invoking the clause which allows the current agreement to be revisited if the “assumptions underlying it” change.

Dublin, 24 April 2022

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