State officials can plan a national day of protest if government talks on a collective agreement collapse


Union leaders are considering a nationwide day of protest for all public sector workers if the new government’s talks on a pay deal review collapse.

The proposal came after Siptu announced that workers in healthcare, local government, education and the parastatal sector will vote for industrial action from August 29.

Siptu Deputy Secretary General John King said voting would begin “if there is no successful outcome” of the talks.

Negotiations are due to resume later this month on a review of the deal following the collapse in June.

Unions are demanding bigger wage increases under the Building Momentum deal on rising inflation.

It has emerged that union leaders may consider a nationwide day of protests after the plan was put forward by local authority officials.

The Committee of Local Authority Professional Officers (LAPO) last month passed a motion calling on Siptu’s national executive committee to consider a national day of protest for all public sector workers covered by a new agreement.

This was to happen “when the government does not adequately address the legitimate demands of the Irish Trades Union Congress in relation to public sector pay”.

Asked if the proposal was on the agenda, Mr King said the proposal would be considered if review talks failed.

“The method of industrial action has not yet been decided,” he said. “I would say that the LAPO application will feed into this process. We need to ensure cross-union unity on the campaign.”

Unions and the government side have accepted an invitation from the Workplace Relations Commission to resume talks.

The WRC offered talks on August 10 or 12, but the government side said it would not be able to attend until the end of the month.

Before talks broke down, the government put forward an offer that would mean public servants would receive an additional 5 percent pay rise over two years.

That would mean that they would get a total of 7 pieces this year and next. This is because 2pc will be paid under the agreement as early as this year.

The cost of the government’s bid would be around 1.2 billion euros.

If accepted, the total cost of Building Momentum would be €2.3 billion.

“While we welcomed the invitation, we intend to continue the consultation process with our members and in the absence of a number of proposals to put forward to our members, voting on industrial action will begin,” Mr King said.

Siptu said its organizers started a consultation with members ahead of the elections yesterday.

Union leaders invoked the provisions of a review clause in Building Momentum on March 11 this year.

Siptu said it was clear that the “modest terms” of the public service contract would be completely undermined by a dramatic rise in the cost of living. State officials can plan a national day of protest if government talks on a collective agreement collapse

Fry Electronics Team

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