Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Ceisteanna (239)

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

239. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will exclude front-line workers from all the cuts as a matter of urgency. [11009/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Discussions have taken place between public service employers and the Public Services Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions regarding the Government’s stated intention to reach agreement on securing the required overall savings from the public service pay and pensions bill by 2015. Following intensive engagement between the parties, which was facilitated by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), the LRC has developed and recommended a set of proposals for consideration and agreement. These proposals represent a balanced and integrated set of proposals and I have no plans to amend the proposals made. All public servants, including front-line workers, will be able to consider the full set of proposals by the LRC which have been published and the public service staff representatives who remained in negotiations have indicated that these proposals will be subject to ballot by members.

Both the Government and I are acutely aware of the very significant contributions made to date by all public servants by way of pay reductions, imposition of the pension related deduction, non-payment of pay increases and the significant productivity arising over recent years facilitated by the Public Service Agreement. Regrettably, the scale of the fiscal crisis inherited by the current Government and the absolute requirement to address and reduce the current deficit of 8% to less than 3% in 2015, requires a further contribution of €1bn from the public service pay and pensions bill which accounts for some 35% of current expenditure. Undoubtedly the impact of the proposals made by the Labour Relations Commission will add to the financial pressures on public servants who also carry the burden of increased taxes which apply to all workers. They represent a balanced set of proposals across all public service sectors to secure the savings required by the Exchequer while ameliorating the impacts for public service staff on low and middle incomes to the greatest extent possible.