Unions met with senior officials from the Department of Public Expenditure on Wednesday for exploratory talks on public service pay rises.
The meeting with officers of the ICTU public services committee was organised after Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath asked his officials to engage with the group following the unions’ decision to trigger a review clause in the current agreement.
Following the meeting, the chair of the committee, Kevin Callinan, who is also general secretary of Fórsa, issued an update to members of the committee.
Underlying economic assumptions
“The department officials said that the Government acknowledged that there had been a change in the underlying economic assumptions that informed the negotiations that led to the negotiation and acceptance of the Building Momentum agreement,” he said.
“They accepted that there was an expectation that an adjustment in the pay terms of Building Momentum, in 2022, would be discussed as part of this engagement, although this exploratory meeting did not go into detail about what this might amount to.
“Against the background of uncertainty caused by the international situation and other factors, the DPER [Department of Public Expenditure and Reform] officials also said that, in advance of its October 2022 budget announcement, the Government was keen to establish some certainty on public service pay movement in 2023, and that they were ready to engage with us on this over the coming weeks.
“We inquired whether, in such a scenario, the Government side would seek to revisit and/or add to the change and modernisation commitments in Building Momentum. The officials said that they would reflect and consult on this question.”
Mr Callinan added that the parties agreed the assistance of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) “might be helpful”, and it was agreed the WRC should be contacted to see if it could facilitate a further meeting between groups in the week beginning May 23rd.