I propose to take Questions Nos. 31, 36 to 38, inclusive, 49, 51 and 52 together.
For the majority of public servants, the difference in incremental salary scales between those public servants who entered public service employment since 2011 and those who entered before that date was addressed with the relevant union interests under the provisions of the Haddington Road agreement. There are, however, a number of areas across the public service where, due to the decision by the then Government in 2012 to cease payment of certain outdated allowances to employees recruited after that time, differences remain.
The Lansdowne Road agreement through the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest, FEMPI, Act 2015 is delivering a three-year programme at a full-year cost of €844 million in 2018. The agreement is also flexible enough to allow for the concerns of recent recruits to the public service to be addressed in a negotiated way and in return for workplace reform to drive greater productivity in the public service, as has already been agreed with representative bodies of one group of public servants. In that context, officials of my Department and the Department of Education and Skills agreed yesterday with the INTO and the TUI, both of whom are inside the agreement, to have engagement later this month to begin to fully scope out the issues involved regarding pay arrangements for newly qualified teachers.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
The programme for Government also states that Government will establish a public service pay commission to examine pay levels across the public service, including any issues relating to new entrants' pay. The precise structure of such a commission and the technical aspects as to how it will operate have yet to be decided upon and will require broad consultation, including engagement with staff representatives as was committed to in the Lansdowne Road agreement.