Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Questions (517)

John Lahart


517. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the plans in place for the direct involvement of Defence Forces representative associations in national pay talks. [15965/21]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

My Department is committed to ensuring that the process of engagement between the parties to pay negotiations including the recent negotiations which were facilitated by the Workplace Relations Commission is based on fairness in the treatment of all concerned.

While the LEVEL 5 restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic presented very real challenges to the conduct of negotiations on a new public service agreement in 2020 all parties were facilitated to the greatest extent possible.  This included comprehensive engagement with all parties. 

All organisations were involved in those discussions and were provided with drafts of key documents which formed elements of the eventual agreement reached.

A process of engagement with the parties began in 2019 and continued into 2020. In that regard all organisations attended multiple briefings prior to negotiations in November and December 2020.

Following finalisation of the new public service pay agreement - 'Building Momentum', the process of engagement continued and officials from my Department have met with all organisations in recent weeks to address queries on aspects of Building Momentum. The agreement has been accepted by the very large majority of public servants and is being implemented. The Government remains committed to according equitable treatment to all those in negotiations on public service collective agreements.

Unions / representative associations who decide to accept the agreement must notify the Workplace Relations Commission of their acceptance in order to be encompassed by the benefits of the agreement including Sectoral Bargaining the timelines for which are set out in the Agreement.