Ministers say Croke Park extension will be “final ask”

Croke Park talks update – 12th February 2013

Ministers from both Government parties have said there will be “no further ask” of public servants if an extension to the Croke Park deal can be agreed. The statements came in weekend media interviews with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin, whose comments were quickly echoed by junior minister Brian Hayes.

Minister Howlin said he was seeking an agreement that “brings us to the end of 2016” and added that “there will be no further ask of public servants” in the lifetime of this Government “unless some calamity happens outside our control.” Minister Hayes added: “This will be the deal that will ultimately resolve this issue.”

The comments came as negotiations were expected to intensify in the near future. Following detailed talks on cross-sectoral issues over the last ten days, management is expected to table the overall shape of a potential agreement. This is expected to reflect a range of issues including accelerated headcount reductions, a ‘higher pay’ contribution, working hours, allowances and premium payments.

Last week management worked on detailed figures for the potential savings from changes to working hours. This came after IMPACT and other unions demanded data on how, and by how much, added time would reduce the public service pay bill. The unions have engaged external financial advisors to examine the management data.

Union negotiators have also tabled an agenda that includes revision of the pension levy, the two-tier workforce and other industrial relations issues outlined in previous IMPACT bulletins.

The issue of working time has been discussed by IMPACT’s Central Executive Committee and many branch annual general meetings (see update from 4th February 2013).

Management has already said that, in the absence of an agreed extension to the Croke Park deal, it will seek to impose payroll savings of “at least” €1 billion. IMPACT continues to emphasise that anything that emerges from the talks must be equitable, and that it will be put to a ballot of all members who will have the final say on whether to accept or reject it.

Read previous updates HERE.