‘Big improvement’ needed in civil service pay proposals, unions say – The Irish Times

According to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu), it will take a “significant improvement” to the wage proposals put on the table by the government if it is to prevent strike votes from going ahead as planned next month.

While Ictu said he would “engage positively” in the talks on public service pay which start on Monday at the Workplace Relations Committee (WRC), he warned that earlier proposals put forward by the government had “not reflected the reality of the cost of living crisis”. ”.

Unions representing most Irish public sector workers are preparing industrial action polls as part of a coordinated campaign to pressure the government to raise wages amid the cost of healthcare crisis. life.

Talks between the two sides began in June before collapsing after a government offer of a combined 5% pay rise over two years on top of the 2% in an existing pay deal was rejected by officials. unions as “not credible”. .

In recent weeks, senior Coalition officials, including Public Spending Minister Michael McGrath, have signaled their willingness to make a new bid.

On Friday evening, union negotiators pledged to participate positively in the new round of talks.

Cost of living crisis

Kevin Callinan, who leads the union bargaining team as chairman of the Ictu public services committee, said when negotiations were suspended in mid-June the government’s position did not reflect the reality of the cost of living crisis.

“The government side took more than two months to reflect on its position,” he noted.

“The increased and sustained inflation during this period has made it difficult to achieve an outcome that unions can credibly present at the ballot box of workers grappling with spiraling increases in the cost of fuel, food , housing, childcare and many other essentials, which were underpinned by today’s announcement of further increases of 35-39% in home heating bills this winter,” said he continued.

However, he said the unions were ‘ready to be flexible in discussions next week’ and he noted Mr McGrath’s indication that the government would make an improved offer on Monday.

“We are eager to know if this will be enough to move towards an outcome that we can credibly offer workers in the polls,” he said.

Officers from the ICTU Public Services Committee will represent unions which collectively represent over 90% of civil servants and civil servants in the talks.

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