The OPW employs approximately 2500 staff across a wide range of craft, technical, administrative, and management disciplines. All staff have important roles to play that bring great value to those availing of OPW services. While there are many different grades and classifications of employee involved, the OPW values all of its staff equally and works hard to minimise the impact of the historical differences in Terms and Conditions that apply between the employment categories involved so that the organisation is one team – one OPW.
Guides in the Office of Public Works are technically classified as “industrial employees” and are recruited to the OPW in a non-established capacity. They enjoy the same Terms & Conditions as “industrial employees” in other areas of the civil service.
A non-established State employee is a person employed in a whole-time capacity by a Government Department or Office who is not an established civil servant. Non-established State employees are not covered by the Civil Service Regulations Act, 1956.
There has been some progress by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in reducing the differences in Terms and Conditions between these categories, which I welcome. For example, there is no material difference between established and non-established Pensions for staff recruited since 1 January, 2013.
As with all non-established staff working in Civil Service Departments and Offices, OPW Guides recruited before 1 January, 2013 are members of the pre-2013 Non-Established Public Service Pension Scheme, and those recruited from 1 January, 2013, are members of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme.
Established staff recruited before 1 April, 2004 have a minimum retirement age of 60, while that of non-established staff is 65. The minimum retirement age for all staff recruited after 1 April, 2004, whether established or non-established, is 65/66.
Like all non-established State employees, Guides in the OPW have access to all open competitions for posts in the civil and public service. It is, however, the case that competitions are initiated under the Civil Service Regulations Act are confined to staff who have Civil Servant status.