With the Landsdowne Road agreement due to expire in September 2018, public service management, unions and the WRC have been debating a new agreement. Several reparations have been proposed in the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, available here. Where applicable, this new deal would cover the period from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2020.
This was formulated on “the outcome of discussions facilitated by the Workplace Relations Commission in respect of the extension of the Landsdowne Road Agreement and the previous public service agreements”.[i]
Those involved in formulating the agreement pay due regard to the sacrifices of those in the public sector during the economic crisis – specifically those caused by the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) Acts 2009-2013. However, it further notes that “forecasts for 2017 in the Stability Programme Update is for a General Government Deficit of 0.4 per cent of GDP, or €1.2 billion”, but this is predicated of the continuance of the FEPMI measures, as ameliorated by the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2015. The Public Service Stability Agreement 2013-2018 began a gradual, phased unwinding of the FEMPI measures; this process is intended to be completed with the newest update to the Stability Plan.
The likely impact of Brexit on the Irish economy was also a consideration during the negotiation period.
- By the conclusion of this Agreement, it is expected that 90% of public servants will no longer be operating on FEMPI measures. Almost 25% are expected to be out of the FEMPI pension provisions by the same time. Those who are not out of the provisions by that point will have full restoration in the period 2021/2022.
- It is expected that nearly three-quarters (73%) of public servants will see a 7% increase in earnings by the end of 2020.
- The timetable of adjustments, as reported by IMPACT[ii], is:
- 1 January 2018: 1% pay adjustment
- 1 October 2018: 1% pay adjustment
- 1 January 2019: Pension levy threshold up from €28,750 to €32,000 (worth €325pa)
- 1 January 2019: 1% pay adjustment for those earning less than €30,000
- 1 September 2019: 1.75% pay adjustment
- 1 January 2020: Pension levy threshold increased to €34,500 (worth €250pa)
- 1 January 2020: 0.5% pay increase for those earning less than €32,000
- 1 October 2020: 2% pay adjustment
- A table of all salary bands and their adjustments can be found here.
- The pension levy ceiling will be adjusted in the 2018-2019 period. It will increase from €28,750 to €34,500. An additional pension contribution of €575/year will be necessary. Those who joined after January 2013 will pay less. Those with a “fast accrual” arrangement will be the exception to this; there will be “no adjustment to their existing pension levy contribution”.
- There will be a gradual shift towards aligning levels of pensions for those who retired before February 2012, and those who retired after. These adjustments will see increases to the sum received by pensioners, dependent on the level of pay for those in the grade the pensioner was in at retirement.
- At the beginning of the Agreement (January 2018) or the end of it (January 2020), a new provision in the agreement will mean that public servants will be able to choose to permanently revert back to the working hours before the Haddington Road Agreement. Choosing this option is based on a pro rata adjustment in pay.
- Annual leave can also, under this Agreement, be converted to flexitime.
- In order to strengthen the “predictability of attendance” where public services are concerned, rostering may be introduced, on the stipulation that these rostering activities are agreed upon between management and unions.
- After January 2019, non-pensionable overtime payments will not be subject to the pension levy.
- The Agreement includes a commitment to maintaining a healthy work-life balance throughout the public service.
- The Public Service Pay Commission will set about evaluating the specific issues with recruitment and retention in particular sections. By the end of 2018, they will be ready to make recommendations on how to remedy these issues. According to IMPACT,
- “It also includes safeguards over the use of internships, clinical placements, work experience and job activation measures by saying there must be “agreement on protocols” on cooperation with such programmes.”
- Under this Agreement, performance management systems will need to be introduced in the areas of the public service where they are not already in use.
- New entrants to the public service after 2011 had two extra incremental levels than those who joined before this date, an issue which has been raised in discussions for other agreements. This agreement sets out a 12-month period where this “length of scale” issue will be examined.
Response from Unions
In July, IMPACT accepted the proposal by a majority.
Also in July, a greater majority of AHCPS voted to accept the Agreement.
On Friday 10 August, SIPTU members accepted the proposals by a vast majority.
An Executive Committee from the CPSU recommended a “yes” vote to its members on 7 July. It is expected that balloting of members on the issue will take place between Monday 28 August and Friday 15 September 2018.