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New wage negotiations in the public sector are on the agenda just hours after the unions’ election plan was announced

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The government has agreed to new talks with public sector union leaders just hours after they announced a coordinated campaign for industrial action.

Discussions were invited by the Workplace Relations Commission immediately after a meeting of the Public Services Committee of the Irish Trades Union Congress yesterday to discuss wage strategy in the face of rising inflation.

Talks are scheduled to resume on August 10 or 12.

Asked whether preparations for the elections, including consultations with members, were still taking place, a senior union source said: “This decision is being considered.”

Discussions over a review of Building Momentum’s current pay deal collapsed last month after unions rejected a government offer of an additional 5 percent pay rise on top of the 2 percent already agreed for this year.

This would mean public servants would receive pay rises totaling 7 percent this year and next, at an additional cost of €1.2 billion, bringing the total cost of the agreement to €2.3 billion.

The invitation from WRC Director-General Liam Kelly said that after the talks were suspended to allow the parties ‘reflection’, the WRC invited them to continue the talks ‘with a view to reaching an agreement’ on 10 June. or resume August 12.

Seen in a reply from Irish IndependentPublic Services Committee chair Kevin Callinan said the committee had made it clear that its position was negotiable if the government side was willing to “significantly improve” its offer.

“In the meantime, the cost of living has continued to rise sharply in the almost six weeks since the talks were interrupted,” he says.

“We remain convinced that unless the government’s bid is significantly improved, it cannot be credibly presented to union members who are currently, along with workers across the economy, bearing the full brunt of the large and ongoing cost increases for the… Carry home heating, fuel, groceries, shelter, childcare and many other essentials.”

He says no deal will be possible unless the government is ready to make an improved offer for a review of Building Momentum wage terms for 2021-2022.

Mr Callinan says it will also be essential if “we are to move forward to reach an agreement on wage conditions for 2023”.

A spokesman for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said the government welcomed and accepted the Workplace Relations Commission’s invitation.

“As Secretary Michael McGrath has said from the outset, the government’s aim is to reach agreement on terms that are fair to public servants and taxpayers in general,” the spokesman said.

“To achieve that, you need good will and a certain degree of flexibility on both sides.”

Union leaders yesterday announced plans for industrial action votes would be stepped up across the public sector as part of a coordinated campaign on pay.

The committee’s affiliates represent more than 90 percent of the country’s 340,000 civil servants.

Mr Callinan said a significant number of unions had already started preparing for the elections and he expected them to start rolling out next month.

Earlier this week, Mr McGrath indicated the government was ready to improve its salary offer but warned against chasing inflation and “we will also need the unions to meet”.

The minister said he has a duty to ensure that public sector salaries remain affordable, not only this year and next, but also in the future.

“Because we have really high inflation now,” he said. “It won’t last forever, but we’re trying to make commitments here to improve pay that we can sustain over the medium to long term.”

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/new-public-sector-pay-talks-on-agenda-just-hours-after-unions-announce-ballot-plan-41873160.html New wage negotiations in the public sector are on the agenda just hours after the unions’ election plan was announced

Fry Electronics Team

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