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Reject public service pay deal

(22 Jun 2015)

Higher civil servants urged to reject public service pay deal

AHCPS warns of possible industrial action over proposed Lansdowne Road agreement

Mon, Jun 22, 2015, 18:24 Updated: Mon, Jun 22, 2015, 18:26

Martin Wall

The union representing higher civil and public servants is to urge members to reject the proposed new public service pay deal in a forthcoming ballot.

The Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants (AHCPS) described the proposed new Lansdowne Road agreement as “deeply disappointing” and warned of possible industrial action or a legal challenge.

The decision to recommend that members vote against the proposed new deal was taken unanimously at a meeting of the union’s executive committee on Monday. It followed an extensive consultation process with its 2,850 members.

Under the proposed deal, a planned €1,000 salary increase in 2017 will only apply to staff earning less than €65,000.

However The Irish Times reported last month that under 11th-hour revisions to the pay document put in place following talks between Ministers, original proposals to provide a €1,000 boost to those earning more than €65,000 in the public service in 2017 were shelved.

The association represents mainly staff at assistant principal and principal officer level in the Civil Service.

The bulk of its members would earn more than €65,000.

Members of the association will benefit from pay-restoration provisions contained in the previous Haddington Road agreement on public-service pay and productivity.

Years of pay cuts

AHCPS general secretary Ciarán Rohan said that after years of pay cuts and retrenchment, the association had entered the recent talks “with a not unreasonable expectation” of improvements in remuneration.

“We also anticipated a commitment from the Government to invest in the future of our Civil Service and, in particular, to support the men and women who are leaders in the Civil Service. These are the men and women who are charged with steering many of the key functions of state, including the delivery of the change agenda.

“The result of this engagement has been deeply disappointing. The pay restoration set out in the agreement is welcome – but was already due under existing Haddington Road provisions. However, the decision to actively discriminate against AHCPS members in terms of the final outcome is grossly unfair.

“This outcome does not augur well for the commitment of this Government to the development of the Civil Service. Over a lengthy period of time the AHCPS has argued for investment in the management of the Civil Services.

“This means pay rates that can attract the brightest and the best – however following a 23 per cent cut in pay the Civil Service simply cannot compete with the private sector. Our recent consultation process with our members has only served to reinforce this point of view.

“As a union we are now at a point whereby we must consider a range of options and one of those options is industrial action. We intend to look at what legal options might be available to us also.”

It is unclear as yet as to whether the AHCPS will agree to be bound by the majority decision of the aggregate vote of public-service unions affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

A spokesman said this issue would be considered further following the ballot.

Support

The proposed Lansdowne Road agreement has so far been supported by the executives of the trade unions Impact and Siptu as well as by the Irish National Teachers Organisation.

However, the executives of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI)and the Irish Medical Organisation has recommended to its members that they reject the proposed deal in forthcoming ballots.

The TUI has said it will not be bound by the aggregate ballot result of the public services committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

Meanwhile the Irish Medical Organisation has said that it will be bound by the aggregate result of the vote of the public services committee.

The numerical strength of Siptu, Impact and the INTO mean that if members of these unions follow the advice of their executive committees and support the proposed deal, it will be carried by public services committee.

 

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Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants