Crunch day for “extremely fragile” talks on public service agreement

Public service union leaders today (Thursday) expressed fury at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s (DPER) handling of talks on a possible successor to the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA).

A remotely-held meeting of the PSC this morning heard a report from the four PSC officers, who are negotiating on behalf of unions representing over 90% of public servants.

PSC chairperson Kevin Callinan said DPER’s conduct around the talks, and the absence of movement on issues raised by ICTU-affiliated unions, raised questions about whether progress towards a new public service agreement was now possible. He said the process was now “extremely fragile,” and that a meeting of the two sides, set to take place this (Thursday) afternoon, would be crucial.

Mr Callinan said ICTU-affiliated unions were united in their approach, and on their objectives in the talks. The unions have said any successor to the PSSA must include a mechanism to address issues still outstanding from the Haddington Road agreement, a separate mechanism to address sectoral issues, and a realistic and acceptable approach to pay.

The PSSA, which has been in place since January 2018, expires at the end of this month. Formal negotiations on a successor began last week, with the assistance of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

The PSC represents all ICTU-affiliated unions with members working in the civil and public service. Its officers, and lead negotiators, are Fórsa General Secretary Kevin Callinan, SIPTU Deputy General Secretary John King, INMO General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha, and INTO General Secretary John Boyle.