Following Labour Court Recommendations (CD/16/321& CD/16/322) in respect of the Garda Associations, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D, announced a two-phased approach to securing the future of collective pay agreements: Phase 1 to address anomalies arising from the recommendations; and Phase 2 to negotiate a successor to the Lansdowne Road Agreement.
Government priorities for the Phase 1 negotiations were to:
- secure the continued implementation of the Lansdowne Road Agreement;
- maintain the productivity, industrial peace and stability provided by the Agreement, which are of critical importance to the country and its international reputation; and
- ensure that issues of mutual concern to the parties are addressed in a fair and reasonable way but, above all, in a manner that safeguards existing government expenditure commitments and the broader fiscal position.
Under the first phase, parties to the Lansdowne Agreement were invited to discussions under Section 6 (oversight and governance arrangements) of the Agreement. These discussions were to address anomalies arising from the Labour Court recommendations on Garda Síochána.
Commenting on these discussions, the Minister said ‘This Government believes in the value of collective agreements and is taking steps to support the continued implementation of the Lansdowne Road Agreement’.
“A collective approach to public service pay is vital to our national interest as it provides for the stable industrial relations environment which has been a pillar of our domestic recovery and restored international reputation. Collective agreements deliver public service reform, secure productivity improvements and allow for strong fiscal planning – where pay increases are negotiated fairly and budgeted for on a multi annual basis. This allows us to balance pay increases in the public service with other societal priorities including improvements in housing and health care.
“The Labour Court Recommendation on Garda pay issued on 3rd of November last had serious implications for the continued viability of the Lansdowne Road Agreement and this needed to be addressed.”
This process of engagement between public service management and the Public Service Committee of ICTU has now been completed.
In acknowledgement of this anomaly that has arisen, the Government in its capacity as the public service employer, has agreed to an increase in annualised salaries of €1,000 for the period Aprilto August 2017 inclusive for:
- those on annualised salaries up to €65,000;
- who are parties to the Lansdowne Road Agreement; and
- who do not stand to benefit from the Labour Court recommendations (CD/16/321 & CD/16/322) issued in respect of the Garda Associations.
These increases are estimated to cost approximately €120m and will be met from available public resources taking into account the scope for reallocation of expenditure while also ensuring that core public services are not adversely impacted as a result of this decision.
Preparatory work for Phase 2 has commenced, with parties making submissions to the Public Service Pay Commission. An initial report from the Commission is expected in Q2 2017. This report will provide inputs on how the unwinding of FEMPI legislation can be best managed in the context of the national finances.
Once this report is available, the Government intends to initiate negotiations on a successor to the Lansdowne Road Agreement ahead of Budget 2018 considerations.