IMPACT has welcomed the announcement today (Tuesday 28th April) by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD, that he has invited unions into talks about unwinding the emergency legislation (Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act – FEMPI) used to cut public service pay during the economic crisis.
Responding to the spring economic statement made by the minister this afternoon, IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody said that current conditions demonstrated that the economic emergency had passed, and that the beginnings of pay awards in the private sector and job growth are welcome signs of economic recovery.
“Pay recovery is a crucial element of economic recovery, and public sector pay recovery is just one element within that. It makes sense now to look at how the legislation used to cut pay can be dismantled and how pay improvements, that are in step with pay recovery elsewhere, can be achieved.
“As pay improves across all sectors it will help to boost domestic demand, particularly in the small and medium enterprises sector and across all regions of the country. This in turn will help to sustain the growth in jobs. This is why we have consistently argued that the whole country needs a pay rise” he said.
Mr Cody added that Minister Howlin’s acknowledgment of continuing productivity in the public sector was also welcome. “Public services have delivered on the demands placed upon it by a growing population, which has increased by 350,000 since 2006. There are 30,000 fewer public servants in Ireland than there were when the crisis hit in 2008.
“In that time our public services have responded to the needs of an additional 260,000 people needing social protection services; more than 630,000 extra medical card holders; an increase of 50,000 children in schools and an increase of 13% in the number of people receiving state pensions. People who work in public services continue to respond to that demand, which demonstrates a deep commitment to public service delivery” he said.