The officers of the ICTU Public Services Committee (PSC) met with senior officials from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) late this afternoon (Wednesday) for exploratory talks on public service pay. The meeting was organised after Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, asked his officials to engage with the PSC following the unions’ decision to trigger a review clause in the current public service agreement, Building Momentum.
Following today’s meeting, the chair of the PSC, Kevin Callinan, who is also General Secretary of Fórsa, issued the following update to members of the committee:
“To: Members of the ICTU Public Services Committee
As you are aware the Government last week authorised exploratory discussions between DPER and the officers of the ICTU Public Services Committee, following our activation of the review clause of Building Momentum. The PSC officers met with DPER officials early this evening.
The DPER officials said that the Government acknowledged that there had been a change in the underlying economic assumptions that informed the negotiations that led to the negotiation and acceptance of the Building Momentum agreement.
They accepted that there was an expectation that an adjustment in the pay terms of Building Momentum, in 2022, would be discussed as part of this engagement, although this exploratory meeting did not go into detail about what this might amount to.
Against the background of uncertainty caused by the international situation and other factors, the DPER officials also said that, in advance of its October 2022 budget announcement, the Government was keen to establish some certainty on public service pay movement in 2023, and that they were ready to engage with us on this over the coming weeks.
We enquired whether, in such a scenario, the Government side would seek to revisit and/or add to the change and modernisation commitments in Building Momentum. The DPER officials said that they would reflect and consult on this question.
The parties agreed that the assistance of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) might be helpful, and it was agreed that the WRC should be contacted to see if it could facilitate a further meeting between the PSC officers and DPER officials early in the week beginning 23rd May 2022.
We will arrange a briefing for affiliates after that. Yours sincerely, Kevin Callinan, Chairperson”.