Croke Park talks update – 10pm Sunday 24th February 2013

Talks on a possible extension to the Croke Park agreement are continuing this evening (Sunday) despite a walkout by four unions.

A large majority of public service unions remain of the view that they should continue to attempt to shape an agreement that best protects members’ interests in a very difficult situation. This is because the Government has repeatedly said it will legislate to impose savings of “at least” €1 billion in the public service pay bill if agreement cannot be reached.

IMPACT reported earlier that nothing has been agreed at this stage of the talks.

Most media speculation is based on opening management positions. IMPACT and other unions have made it clear that they will not accept these opening positions, which are still subject to negotiation.

Among other things, IMPACT has said it will not accept management calls for a total freeze on all increments or ‘time and a half’ payments for Sunday working.

The Labour Relations Commission, which is brokering the talks, has said that this morning’s press speculation over measures for “higher pay” were inaccurate. Yesterday, management confirmed that both the threshold for these measures, and the scale of any pay reductions, would be political decisions – not negotiated outcomes.

Last night, the Labour Relations Commission made compromise proposals on working time, but these too remain to be finalised. The LRC has not asked the parties to accept its proposals, although they are likely to form the basis of any negotiated outcome on this issue.

IMPACT said it would not accept management’s opening proposals of an extra five hours working time each week from all public servants. The LRC proposal, which would represent a significant shift from management’s opening position, would mean:

  • Staff who currently work 35 hours a week or less would see their working hours increase to 37 hours a week.
  • Staff who currently work more than 35 hours a week would see their working hours increase to 39 hours a week.
  • Staff who currently work 39 hours a week would see no change in their working hours. However, if they work overtime, one hour of overtime per week would be unpaid.
  • Staff would have the option of remaining on their current hours with a pay adjustment to reflect the extra working time.

Negotiations on a wide range of issues are continuing.

Read earlier updates HERE.