Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (406, 410)

Niall Collins

Question:

406. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the method by which a public servant who is not a member of a trade union can cast a ballot on the Haddington Road agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31493/13]

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Eoghan Murphy

Question:

410. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if public sector workers who are not members of a union will face greater uncertainty and or unequal treatment regarding their future working conditions as a result of not being a member of a union in the context of the Haddington Road Agreement. [31799/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 406 and 410 together.

The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2013 was enacted on 5 June 2013. The primary purpose of the legislation is to implement the proposed pay reduction for public servants earning annual salaries of €65,000 or more, and the parallel reduction in public service pensions over €32,500.

Contingency measures that may be deployed to secure the necessary reductions in the public service pay and pensions bill are also included in the legislation, including provision for a universal freeze on pay increments. The Act also affirms that the person, which may be a line Minister or other public service body, that has the power to determine terms and conditions of employment may exercise that power to reduce non-core rates of pay or to increase hours worked. However, under the legislation, a facility is provided for unions and representative associations to conclude collective agreements with their public service employers.

Where a union has signed up to a collective agreement, now called the Haddington Road Agreement, it will avoid the need for those contingency measures to be used. It is a matter for public servants and their representative unions and associations to decide if they wish to conclude a collective agreement with their employers. Non-union members are not included in the balloting process undertaken by unions but the legislation or the public service as an employer does not distinguish between those employees who are members or not members of unions and changes in terms and conditions are applied on a grade basis.

With regard to those grades represented by a union who do not conclude a collective agreement under the Act, as well as the increment freeze that will apply directly under the terms of the Act, the relevant decision maker will have to take the necessary measures to meet their targeted paybill savings in 2013 and following years.