Tuesday, 16th May 2017

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., has today (Tuesday) invited the Public Services Committee of ICTU to discussions on public service pay and a continued approach to the unwinding of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) legislation.  The Minister has also sent a similar invitation to the Garda and Defence Forces’ Associations.

The Programme for a Partnership Government committed the Government to establish a Public Service Pay Commission to examine pay levels across the public service. For its initial report, the Commission was asked to provide inputs on how the unwinding of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest legislation should proceed. The report was published on 9th May last.

Minister Donohoe stated that: ‘Following consideration of the report by Government, I have now invited the representative organisations for public servants to enter discussions. The purpose of these discussions will be to seek agreement with staff interests on an extension to the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA), to provide for an agreed approach to the continued unwinding of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) legislation. This agreement will be sought while securing the productivity gains of the LRA and previous collective agreements. The discussions will also seek to secure and to provide a fair, balanced and sustainable response to the expectations of public servants in the area of pay on the one hand and an economy which is subject to ongoing financial constraints and a number of emerging international risks and challenges, not least of which is Brexit’.

The Minister added that: ‘I expect all parties to engage constructively and in a realistic way during what will be a complex and difficult negotiation. Public service collective agreements, and by definition public servants, are widely and correctly recognised as having made a particularly valuable contribution to the State’s economic recovery through providing stability, certainty and industrial peace. Thankfully, we are at a point where we can consider and negotiate on modest improvements to current public service pay and conditions, while also recognising that Government must continue to act prudently regarding the management of the national finances’.

The talks will begin this month.

ENDS

Note for Editors

The Public Services Committee of ICTU includes the majority of trade unions with a mandate to represent public servants. In addition, these discussions will take place with and include the associations representing members of An Garda Siochana and the Defence Forces.

A separate process of consultation will take place with an association representing public service pensioners.

The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts 2009 – 2013 comprise five pieces of primary legislation, under which cuts in gross rates of pay and pension, and a pension related deduction were applied to the income of serving and former public servants, to assist in the process of reductions in public expenditure.  The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts 2015 commenced the gradual unwinding of the pay and pension reductions through the implementation of the terms of the Lansdowne Road Agreement and by a programmed series of measures to reduce the impact of the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR). The Minister is required under the Acts to present an annual review (by 30th June each year) of the legislation to the Houses of the Oireachtas.