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Public Sector Pay

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 5 March 2019

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Questions (58, 71, 74, 165)

Willie Penrose

Question:

58. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to review public service pay in view of the recently agreed deal with nurses; his further plans to open pay negotiations with trade unions and other social partners; if so, when; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10640/19]

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Joan Burton

Question:

71. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on the likely gross and net cost of the recent pay agreement with nurses; his plans to examine and review likely pay implications for other public sector workers and the wider economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10638/19]

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Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

74. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the estimated cost in 2019 and 2020 of resolving the nurses' dispute; his plans to achieve pay equality in the health and education sectors in 2019 and 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10483/19]

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Willie Penrose

Question:

165. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to consult with public sector unions in respect of public pay negotiations; if the recent negotiations with nurses will have a knock-on implication for other employees in the Civil Service; if so, the likely implications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9969/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 58, 71, 74 and 165 together.

The Labour Court decided to intervene in the nursing dispute due to the grave and extensive implications for our health services and patient safety.

In making its decision the Labour Court acknowledged that "The Public Service employers made clear to the Court that any resolution of the within dispute must take place within the framework of the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA)" and that "the Trade Union has also made clear to the Court its acknowledgement that the resolution to the within dispute must be found within the framework of the PSSA".

As such the Court stressed that in making its recommendation it had only considered possible solutions "in the context of the PSSA".

It is important to note that the Irish Congress of Trade Unions were involved in the negotiations at the Labour Court and supported the Agreement on this basis. Accordingly, I have no plans to engage on public service pay negotiations outside the terms of the current agreement.

Within the framework provided by the PSSA, the Labour Court has made a recommendation and the details of the recommendation will be subject to ballot by INMO members between the 11th and 25th of March. Subject to the outcome to current discussions on contractual matters related to the Labour Court Recommendation, other nursing unions (SIPTU & PNA) have also indicated they will undertake ballots of their members.

The indicative estimates of the net additional costs associated with Labour Court Recommendation LCR 21900 are as follows:

2019: €10m - €15m

2020: €30m - €35m

These estimates include the cost of the potential movement of staff to the new Enhanced Nursing Practice salary scale and other elements of the Recommendation such as the extension of the location/qualification allowance to medical and surgical areas, offset by Agency Savings and the re-configuration of the new entrant deal.

These estimates are necessarily high level and indicative reflecting the fact that further detailed work is currently under way, as provided for under the Labour Court Recommendation, in relation to a new nursing contract and supporting verification mechanisms.

On the 24th September last, agreement was reached with the Public Services Committee of ICTU on measures to address the new entrant pay issue.

In general, the agreement provides for two separate interventions which will take place at point 4 and point 8 of pay scales. The practical effect of this is that for ‘new entrants’ the relevant points on the pay scale will be bypassed thereby reducing the time spent (by bypassing two increment points) on the scale for progression to the maximum point.

The benefits under the measure are effective from 1 March 2019 and are restricted to Parties adhering to the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 excluding nurses, who will benefit from measures that form part of the Labour Court Recommendation.

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