26 September 2023

IRELAND: Union calls for inflation-fuelled pay review

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A major Irish trade union is calling for a review of the current Public Service pay agreement, citing recent sharp rises in inflation.

General Secretary of Fórsa, the State’s largest Public Service union, Kevin Callinan said sustained inflation was grounds to review the pay increases in the current Building Momentum deal, which was agreed to in December 2020.

The agreement sets out a maximum pay increase this year of 1.2 per cent for Public Service workers.

Mr Callinan (pictured), who is also Chair of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Public Services Committee, said the cost of living was continuing to soar in the meantime.

The current deal states that pay increases above what had been agreed could not be considered, unless the “assumptions” underlying the agreement needed to be revisited.

Mr Callinan wants the Public Services Committee to trigger this clause of the agreement.

“Inflation has reached its highest level in more than two decades,”

Mr Callinan said.

“It’s also clear that the cost of living is on an upward trajectory, despite earlier hopes that prices would stabilise and fall,” he said.

“There was no assumption of the high and sustained cost-of-living increases when the current pay agreement was negotiated in late 2020.”

Mr Callinan also pointed out that public finances were in surplus, while both the jobless rate and the projected deficit were much lower than anticipated at the time Building Momentum was negotiated and accepted by Public Servants in ballots.

The Government is currently considering a separate recommendation from an independent body to restore Public Servants’ working hours to the levels that existed before the Haddington Road Austerity Agreement in 2013.

Dublin, 12 March 2022

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