The Public Service Pay Commission will soon deliver its report.
THE MINISTER FOR Public Expenditure and Reform is gearing up for an “incredibly challenging” set of negotiations with public sector unions over pay.
Paschal Donohoe’s comments come ahead of the publication of the report by the Public Service Pay Commission.
The commission’s report will provide analysis of public sector pay rates as unions push for reversals in cuts to pay and conditions.
Speaking today on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Donohoe said that he has not yet received the report but expects to in the coming weeks. Discussions are then scheduled to begin before the end of May.
“These negotiations are going to be incredibly challenging. While things have improved versus where we were in the past, our public service pay bill for this year along is €16.4 billion,” the minister said.
It is below the highest level which was in 2009 by a billion euro, but there are needs and expectations by many, and I’m approaching this negotiations in good faith. I aim to reach a fair agreement for all but I expect them to be very demanding.
The head of the union representing mid-level civil servants has previously stated that his members will seek pay restorations worth around €1.4 billion in the upcoming talks.
The minister was unwilling to say whether the government is to seek a greater contribution from public sector workers towards their pensions.
He did, however, say that the government will be seeking to keep commitments made by unions over sick days and productivity:
I think it’s the case of any employer and anyone who cares about public services like I do, as indeed does everybody who works in the public services, that we want to deliver further productivity.
The minister also added that he is aware of sacrifices made by public sector workers as well as those in the rest of the workforce.
“I’m very cognisant of the sacrifices that public service workers have made. Very cognisant of how difficult it has been. I’m also very cognisant of the change and challenge that the rest of our state has gone through, which is why the key thing for me is fairness.” he said.