The Central Executive Committee of IMPACT, Ireland’s largest public service union, today (Thursday) overwhelmingly recommended that its members accept proposals for an extension to the Croke Park agreement. Speaking after the executive meeting in Dublin, IMPACT general Secretary Shay Cody said the union’s elected leadership believed the proposals represented the best package that could be achieved through negotiation.
“The package will result in loss of income for a proportion of public servants, and changes in conditions for many more. But faced with management’s determination to make €1 billion additional cuts to the pay bill – by agreement or by legislation – our task is to minimise the adverse effects on our members and the services they provide. By negotiating, IMPACT and other unions have succeeded in reducing the severity of management proposals in every important area, and it is likely that deeper cuts will be imposed if this package is rejected,” he said.
Mr Cody said the union would commence balloting in the last week in March and conclude the voting in mid-April. “This is a detailed and wide-ranging package and we will be spending the coming weeks explaining its contents and responding to members’ questions about what it means for them. It’s crucial that people fully understand the package, and the alternatives, before they cast their votes,” he said.
IMPACT says unions who negotiated last weekend reduced the severity of management proposals in every important respect. For example:
- The commitment to no compulsory redundancies remains, despite management’s desire to allow compulsory redundancies in some circumstances.
- The package contains measures that will eliminate the “two-tier” workforce introduced when the previous Government imposed an additional 10% cut in pay scales for new entrants.
- On working time, unions successfully moved management from its position that all public servants should work an additional five hours a week regardless of their current working hours.
- On increments, unions successfully moved management from its position, which was that all increments should be frozen until the end of 2016.
- On premium payments, unions moved management from its position, which was that payment for working Sundays should be reduced from double time to time and a half, and that premiums for Saturday working should be abolished outright.
- Overtime payments, which management wanted to abolish, have also been preserved in a modified form.
- On flexitime, unions were able to modify the management position on the grades to retain the facility.
- Although unions have not accepted Government plans to cut so-called “higher pay”, the negotiations resulted in less severe cuts, a higher threshold at which cuts are imposed, and a form of implementation that means pay can be restored in time for those who earn less than €100,000 a year.
- The proposals will also see a small restoration of pension levy reductions for all public servants.
- On redeployment, unions successfully moved management from its position which, among other things, was that the limit for redeployment should be increased from 45km to 100km. There will be no change to the 45km limit.
- Union negotiators ensured there was no change to the existing situation regarding allowances.