Pay recovery across all sectors of the Irish economy is vital if the Government is to achieve its target of full employment by 2018, according to Ireland’s largest public sector trade union, IMPACT.
The union’s general secretary, Shay Cody, said that the Government’s objective to achieve full employment two years earlier than originally planned is ambitious. Mr Cody said “Every trade union wishes to see this objective realised, but it can only be achieved by enabling workers to spend more in the domestic economy.
“Pay improvements across all sectors would have the immediate effect of boosting domestic demand. Most of that money would go straight into Ireland’s small and medium businesses as the extra cash is far more likely to be spent locally. This would be a key driver of job creation and the improvement of living standards generally” he said.
Mr Cody also welcomed comments by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD, that talks around the restoration of public sector pay are expected to begin in the Spring.
Mr Cody said “Wage movement is just one vital ingredient of economic recovery, and public service pay improvement is just one element of that. Income recovery is needed right across the economy. That includes the community, voluntary, commercial and private sectors.”
Mr Cody said that at the time of the Haddington Road agreement it was acknowledged that, if economic circumstances improved earlier than anticipated, there could be a discussion about pay recovery before the expiration of the HRA. “The state’s spending deficit is expected to go below the 3% target set by the Troika this year. Ireland’s deficit and borrowing costs will be lower than those of France, Britain and other EU states.
“These are welcome signposts that show we’re moving out of the crisis, and they are accompanied by signs of pay movement in sectors such as construction, retail, finance and in the multinationals” he said.
Mr Cody added that CSO figures published last November revealed that average annual earnings have fallen despite economic growth and longer working hours. “Workers have yet to feel any real effect of economic recovery. Recovery can’t be sustained, and the necessary jobs cannot be created, without real wage recovery” he said.