Talks on public sector pay to resume this week

The negotiations will impact on some 385,000 public servants as well as pensioners who will also receive any pay increases agreed

Talks between Government officials and senior union negotiators intended to produce a new deal on public sector pay are to resume on Tuesday.

The talks, which started at the end of November but which, after 11 sessions, have yet to deal with the issue of pay broke up on December 19th without a date for a resumption.

On Monday afternoon, however, officials at the Workplace Relations Commission contacted unions to invite them back into talks which are to take place on Tuesday afternoon.

The negotiations will impact on some 385,000 public servants as well as pensioners who will also receive any pay increases agreed.


The previous deal, Building Momentum, which initially covered 2021 and 2022 before being extended to cover last year, expired in December 31st.

Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan, who as chair of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Public Services Committee leads the union side in the talks has described the failure to have a new agreement in place before the old one expired as “not acceptable”.

The 19 unions involved in the process are to meet on Thursday to agree the wording for a ballot on industrial action. The Public Services Committee’s members had agreed they would proceed with a ballot if an agreement had not been concluded by January 11th and the meeting is currently due to go ahead as planned.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe has previously said the talks were hampered by the late introduction to the proceedings of what he described as “unexpected issues”.

“It was recognised by all parties that these talks would be taking place against a challenging background and over the last few weeks, the parties have been working constructively,” he said in late December. “And I understood that progress had been made on a number of issues. But I also know that a number of new items have been raised at a relatively late stage in the process. And this has presented challenges in bringing these discussions to conclusion.”

The unions denied this, saying all of the issues raised had been flagged in advance.

Mr Callinan said the goal remains “a deal that works for everyone over a multi-year period”.

In addition to pay increases intended to address increases to the cost of living, the union side is seeking to discuss a number of other issues including new structures to address local claims not specifically addressed by the national agreement.

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Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times