As the Deputy is aware, I have instructed my officials to engage in exploratory talks with public services committee of ICTU to see if there is a basis for a successor agreement to the Public Service Stability Agreement to ensure pay stability, industrial peace and the delivery of quality public services.
To date there has been constructive engagement between the public service management and the Public Services Committee of ICTU as part of exploratory discussions.
A new collective agreement could play an important role in underpinning economic recovery, avoiding industrial unrest and supporting the delivery of quality public services at a critical time. However, any such agreement would need to reflect the broader economic context and the current fiscal position where significant challenges are emerging.
The present system of collective agreements has been in place in the public service since the Croke Park Agreement was negotiated in 2010.
These collective agreements have helped to ensure that public pay is managed in a sustainable, affordable and orderly manner. These agreements have also enabled ongoing reform of public services and changes to work practices.
The current public service agreement the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) 2018-2020 is due to expire on the 31st December 2020. The final adjustment provided for by the Agreement is due from 1 October 2020 with annualised salaries of public servants to be increased by 2%.
The pay provisions of the PSSA are given effect by the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017.
The Public Service Pay and Pensions Act also provides for the restoration of reductions to fixed allowance from 1 October 2020.
The Government has committed to honouring the remaining terms of the current deal in recognition of the contribution that our public servants have made in dealing with the Public Health Emergency and as a demonstration of our commitment to this framework of collective agreements.