asked the Minister for Finance whether, in view of the dissatisfaction expressed by civil servants with the proposals issued under cover of his letter of the 8th June last to the Staff Associations, he will now set up negotiation and arbitration arrangements in relation to the conditions of employment in the Civil Service on the lines of the system which for a number of years past has been operated successfully in the Civil Service in Great Britain.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Civil Service Arbitration Scheme.
After due consideration the Government decided that before a decision could be reached as to the methods by which arbitration can best be applied to our Civil Service the matter should be inquired into by a commission which would receive evidence from all parties interested. That inquiry was duly held and the Scheme of Arbitration issued to the Civil Service on the 8th June last is based on the majority report of the commission. All the Civil Service Staff Associations have been invited to state their views on the scheme in writing, but replies from a number are still outstanding. I have no information that the Arbitration Scheme in the British Civil Service, referred to in the question, has operated successfully, but in any case I am not prepared to accept the suggestion that such a scheme should be adopted here in preference to one based on the report of a commission of our own who have examined the problem with great care in the light of the circumstances of our own Civil Service and of the financial requirements of our own State.
Would the Minister state whether the actual scheme of arbitration that has been put up to the Civil Servants is in fact based on the majority report of the commission that inquired into this matter?
Completely based upon it?
Would the Minister say if, in so far as it is not entirely based upon it, it departs from it in very fundamental particulars?
I should say no.
Will the Minister state then if I am correct in saying that the staff associations have made it perfectly clear that the Minister's scheme is entirely unacceptable to them, and, if so, whether a condition of dead-lock has been reached between the Minister, the Staff Associations and Civil Servants in general?
I received indications that some Staff Associations are not prepared favourably to consider the scheme. On the other hand, I have not yet received from all the Staff Associations their views on the scheme in writing, and, therefore, I do not think it is correct to suggest that a dead-lock exists.
Could the Minister say which of the Staff Associations have not yet sent in their replies, and, if he cannot state the names, would he state the number of associations that have not yet replied, together with the number that have?
I am not prepared to give information in such detail without due notice.
When would the Minister be in a position to give such information?
If the Deputy puts down another Parliamentary question.
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the Minister's reply, I propose to raise this matter on the adjournment.
Meantime, will the Minister deny that the scheme has been rejected by all the staff organisations, except one puny, insignificant organisation, because of the fact that it does not contain the principles of arbitration which the staff organisations were led to believe would be enshrined in the scheme of arbitration promised to them by the President in the speech delivered by him in the Town Hall, Rathmines, in 1932?
I am not prepared to pass judgment on the quality of any of the staff organisations, but at least I feel that those which have accepted the scheme are as representative of the service as a whole as those which have rejected it.