I propose to take Questions Nos. 20 and 21 together.
First, to be clear and to correct the Deputy from the outset, there has not been talk from me or my Department about penalising anybody. Second, as I made clear publicly over the weekend and in the early part of this week, I am putting equal focus in my Department on the 23 unions that are inside the Lansdowne Road agreement while putting due focus on those three representative bodies who are outside it.
With regard to the other points the Deputy put to me, pay issues for public servants are currently determined within the constraints set by the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest, FEMPI, Acts 2009 to 2015, while the industrial relations environment is managed under the terms of the Public Service Agreement 2013-2018. The programme for Government contains a strong commitment to the Lansdowne Road agreement and gives a framework for the next few years for the Government's proposals for ongoing public service reform as well as setting out an agreed pathway to pay restoration for public servants that is affordable to taxpayers, at a cost of €844 million over three years.
As I have always said, I believe this agreement offers the best framework for reconciling the wage needs of those who provide our public services with the broader needs of those who depend upon the delivery of public services.
This agreement is now in operation for the vast majority of public servants. Over 280,000 public servants are inside the Lansdowne Road agreement. A point I have made, and I make it again to Deputy Cullinane, is that we need to put equal focus on those public servants who are inside the agreement and the 23 unions that voted for it.
The Government has to, and will, respect and keep faith with the decisions of the vast majority of public servants who come within the Lansdowne Road agreement. The benefits of and the protections afforded by the agreement will therefore apply to those people who are inside the framework. Those not represented by a body that is inside the agreement will have the relevant provisions of the FEMPI Act apply to them, and will not benefit from the protections and benefits afforded by the agreement, including incremental progression, inclusion of the supervision and substitution allowance in the salary scale of teachers, and the protections negotiated in 2010 regarding compulsory redundancies.
The Government does not want to be in dispute with any group of people working for it. The recent decisions by the AGSI and the Teachers' Union of Ireland are clear examples of the progress that has been made in bringing more associations within the Lansdowne Road agreement.
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. I confirm to the House that in that context, officials of my Department and the Department of Education and Skills agreed yesterday with the INTO and the TUI, both unions inside the agreement, to have engagement later this month to begin to scope out fully the issues involving pay arrangements for newly qualified teachers.