As negotiations on a new public service pay deal have come to a close, Unions will now consider the agreement document, finalised by the Labour Relations Commission. Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD welcomes the proposals which, he believes “constitute a fair and balanced agenda to repair our public finances.” The measures “meet the budgetary targets of the Government and address many of the concerns expressed but the staff representatives during the negotiations. All public sector workers have already made a significant contribution to our economic recovery, however, these further measures are absolutely required to achieve a sustainable payroll cost.”
The key features of this document are as follows:
- 3 year agreement to run from 1 July 2013 to end June 2016
- Over the course of the Agreement, the overall savings target set by Government will be achieved.
- An increase in working hours across the public service; delivering a long-term, sustainable and unprecedented increase in productivity as well as a significant reduction in overtime and agency costs. Those currently working under 35 hours will in future work a minimum of 37 hours. Those working between 35 and under 39 hours will in future work 39 hours. Additional hours will also facilitate reductions in public service numbers.
- Remaining overtime costs will be paid at a reduced rate – Time and half at the first point of the scale for those on less than €35k. Time and a quarter at the individual’s scale point for those over €35k. Those public servants currently on 39 hours will provide an unpaid hour’s overtime.
- Elimination of Twilight payments and reduced rate of time and three quarters for Sunday pay.
- Increment freeze of varying lengths: A 3 year freeze for those over €65k, two 3-month freezes (i.e. two 15 month increments) for those between €35k and €65k and a single 3 month freeze for those under €35k (i.e. a 15-month rather than 12 month increment). Balancing measures for those already at the max. of their scales have also been agreed, either a reduction in annual leave of a total of 6 days over the Agreement or a cash deduction from salary of an equivalent amount or the value of half of the last increment, whichever is the lesser.
- Separately, the Government will reduce the pay of those over €65k progressively as follows:
– 5.5% on the first €80,000 of salary and allowances
– 8% between €80,000 and €150,000
– 9% between €150,000 and €185,000
– 10% above €185,000
- Elimination of Supervision and Substitution payments in the education sector.
- There are a range of additional savings associated with this Agreement including in certain sectors; public service pensions etc.
- A modest amelioration of the Pension Related Deduction has been included as part of the Agreement. It is agreed to reduce the €15,000-€20,000 band rate to 2.5% from 5%.
- A series of long-term work place reforms have also been agreed as part of this deal. These include:
– Revisions to flexitime arrangements and work sharing patterns
-Revisions to redeployment provisions
– Strengthened performance management arrangements
– Proposals in the area of grade restructuring
- Measures will need to be underpinned by legislation