Ezine – December 2017
AHCPS Christmas E-zine
14 December 2017
Dear Branch Secretary
Below is an update on current issues. Please circulate to all members.
Remaining PAY Restoration & The Public Service Pay & Stability Agreement 2018 – 2020: The Association is pleased to note the restoration pending on 1st January 2018 of the balance of the 2013 pay cuts imposed on our members. We have already circulated a table showing adjusted pay scales that can be accessed here. This shows salaries will increase in general by 2.75%. The table also shows the further adjustments of 1% applying to pay from 1st January 2018 and 1st October 2018 resulting from the Pay Talks concluded on 8th June 2017. Additional adjustments of 1.75% apply on 1st October 2019 and 2% on 1st October 2020. It has now been agreed that the remaining FEMPI balances will be restored by the 1st of July 2021.
Submission to the Public Service Pay Commission (CSPS): The Association has made three submissions to the PSPC (AP, PO and Prison Governors) highlighting the pay gap that exists between the pay of our members and their private sector counterparts as set out in the Institute of Public Administration Report commissioned by the Executive Committee. A copy of the IPA Report can be accessed here and the AHCPS comments on the Report here. The Association has also sought an oral hearing with the PSPC to emphasise our case.
Extension of the maximum retirement age
The Government has agreed an increase in the compulsory retirement age from 65 to 70 for public servants recruited before 1st April 2004. The minimum pension age (the earliest date at which someone can retire and receive their pension) will not be affected by the new arrangements. Legislation will be necessary to effect these changes and the General Scheme of a Bill was also approved by Government. The Government also indicated that he would ask the Attorney General to prioritise the drafting of this legislation so that the new compulsory retirement age would become effective as soon as possible. In the meantime, the Minister announced that he had agreed with sectoral public service employers some limited interim arrangements to apply in the period between the Government Decision and the commencement of the necessary legislation. The interim arrangements will allow public servants who reach the age of 65 in that period and who wish to remain working, to retire and be re-hired so that they remain in employment up to the state pension age, which is currently 66. Further details can be found here. The circular can be found here.
Criticism of the Civil Service
The Association’s press release of 30th November 2017 can be accessed here. This addressed the Association’s concerns around comments made regarding events in the Department of Justice. The item was carried on the front page of the Irish Times and that article can be found here. The General Secretary together with Shay Coady IMPACT and Tom Geraghty PSEU met with the Secretaries General in PER Robert Watt and Taoiseachs Martin Fraser to raise our concerns and to ask that these concerns be passed on to the appropriate people.
Events for members
The Executive Committee is conscious of the need to continue to introduce new events/initiatives for members. Some of the events outlined below are in this context:
A Training Workshop for Branch Representatives: was held in HQ on 24th October 2017. 14 members participated and the feedback was extremely positive confirming there is a demand for further workshops in 2018. These will be notified via branch secretaries.
75th Anniversary: 2018 marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Association. A number of seminars are planned for the year. The first is Women in Leadership (see next item). Two others are Brexit & the Civil Service on 31st May and Workplace of the Future on 23rd October 2018. There will also be a special consultative Council meeting on 3rd December 2018 in the Westin Hotel. Details of these events will be notified to members in advance. The logo for the year will be AHCPS, representing members for 75 years, 1943-2018.
Women in Leadership: The Women in Leadership seminar which is a half day event free to all members will be on Thursday 1st February 2018 in the Morrison Hotel Lower Ormond Quay Dublin 1. The speakers are Josephine Feehily Chair of the Policing Authority and former Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners, Dr Orlaigh Quinn Secretary General Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Patricia King General Secretary ICTU, Joan Burton TD former Tánaiste and Niamh McElwee Director Employer Relation IBEC. Members will be advised via branch secretaries about this event in early January and how to register.
Consultative Council: was held on 6th December 2017 in the Alex Hotel. The forum commenced with a presentation from the Assistant General Secretary of the work of the Staff Panel of General Council. It provided members with a measurement of the extensive work undertaken by the Staff Panel each year and the responsibilities undertaken by our officials. The Deputy General Secretary updated the forum on the 75th Anniversary plans and the forum closed with the General Secretary providing a briefing on the other issues outlined in this ezine.
ADC 2018: This will be held on 11th May 2018 in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8. Some branches have already arranged their AGM dates and those yet to do so should make the necessary preparations in January – a reminder will issue to branch secretaries. The closing date for motions and nomination is Friday 23rd March 2018.
Flexible Working Hours (FWH)
Discussions are advancing with DPER to have FWH reintroduced on an optional basis for APs appointed since the Haddington Road Agreement. The HRA removed the facility for newly appointed APs. It is also envisaged that departments that do not have any FWH may be allowed to introduce optional FWH for APs as part of a more flexible approach to working conditions. The Association has emphasised the anti-family nature of the prohibition currently in existence. This is supported by recent research from the ESRI which highlights the lack of flexible working arrangements at senior levels in the Civil Service.
Negotiations continue in An Post where major restructuring plans have been proposed as part of a five-year plan to return the company to profitability. The Association has held a number of bi-lateral meetings with HR. In addition, the first senior manager forum was held attended by a cross section of our members. This was to provide greater detail on the proposed new structure. Final proposals when available are subject to agreement by our members.
Principal Officer Competitions
2017 Open PO Panel: A panel of 78 is effective since 21st November 2017. One person has been placed. The Association has informed DPER that it is desirable that a closure date is specified for future competitions. There is no closure date specified for the current panel. DPER advises that such panels usually exist for in or around a two-year period. There were 1639 applicants for the competition with only 9% of successful candidates from the private sector.
PO Sequence: The Arbitration Board ruling of September 2015 introduced a requirement that every two in three PO appointments must be from the Open Panel and was to be reviewed after two years. The Association has raised the matter of a review with DPER and the need for a reduction of the more favoured position given to open recruitment the Open Panel as against internal competitions. There is growing evidence that our position is supported by many departments.
PO1 Competition: This is currently on-going with the intention of providing a panel for appointments to Finance, DPER & Taoiseach’s where higher scale posts exist. DPER set down that the first 60 round one successful candidates in the 2017 Open PO Competition were eligible to compete along with existing POs who were probated.
Members are reminded of the Association’s twitter account @ahcps Please follow and retweet etc.
This circular will be placed on the Association’s website www.ahcps.ie.
Finally, on behalf of the Executive Committee, I would like to take this opportunity to wish members a very happy Christmas and a happy New Year.