Unions agree priorities ahead of public service pay talks

Join a trade union that wins! Women from community and voluntary sector agencies funded by the HSE protesting for fair pay in Galway

The ICTU Public Service Committee (PSC), which represents all ICTU-affiliated unions with members in the civil and public service, has today (Wednesday) agreed on a core set of priorities as it prepares to enter public service pay talks.

The current public service pay agreement, Building Momentum, expires at the end of 2023. A successor agreement will need to be negotiated and ratified before the current deal expires, and talks are expected to get underway in the coming weeks.

Kevin Callinan, chair of the PSC, said the committee’s priority objective is to secure appropriate pay measures in response to continuing cost-of-living pressures on working families. He said cost pressures, including rising mortgage interest rates and corporate profiteering, continue to erode wages.

Mr Callinan said unions are also focused on stabilising the current agreement, as there had been an “inconclusive” process of engagement on Building Momentum’s commitment to addressing several outstanding issues that affect a number of public service grades, groups and categories.

He added: “The intention of both union and Government representatives was to have this process concluded before entering talks on a new agreement for 2024.

“To stabilise the current agreement, and to ensure a successor agreement commences on a solid foundation, an agreed process for dealing with issues affecting specific groups and grades is essential,” he said.

Mr Callinan said normalising public service industrial relations is also a key priority: “This includes appropriate access to the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court, and the final dismantling of remaining pieces of FEMPI legislation.

“We need to move on from a process of industrial relations shaped by the response to the 2009 financial crisis,” he said.

The PSC has also agreed on pursuing measures to ensure the ‘future-proofing’ of quality public services and public service employment. Mr Callinan said the most recent figures on population made this an essential feature of upcoming talks: “With a growing population of more than five million, we do need to ensure that the State can continue to build and maintain quality public services designed to respond to people’s needs,” he said.