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Cost of Living Issues

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 16 June 2022

Thursday, 16 June 2022

Ceisteanna (115, 120, 121, 129)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

115. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his approach to calls for pay increases to match rises in the cost of living; the way that he will calculate the affordability of such calls; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29519/22]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lahart

Ceist:

120. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the timeframe for the completion of a new public sector pay agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30137/22]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Paul Phelan

Ceist:

121. Deputy John Paul Phelan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his Department still plans for public sector workers to receive a 1% increase in October 2022 under the Building Momentum pay agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31082/22]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

129. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the new public sector pay agreement will ensure that all public sector workers get a pay rise in line with inflation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31314/22]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 115, 120, 121 and 129 together.

Public service pay has been governed by a system of collective agreements 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 significant reform of public services and changes to work practices.

The current public service agreement is Building Momentum - A New Public Service Agreement 2021-2022. This Agreement is weighted towards those at lower incomes with headline increases of approximately 5% for the lowest paid public servants. These groups will also benefit more from other measures in the Agreement including the overtime rates and premia payment adjustments.

Building Momentum is a two year Agreement, which is due to expire at the end of 2022.

As the Deputies will be aware, exploratory discussions have taken place between the parties to the Agreement following the triggering of the review clause in Building Momentum by public service unions and associations due to the increasing cost in living. These discussions have now moved to formal phase of discussions which are being facilitated by the Workplace Relations Commissions.

As the Deputies will appreciate, while these discussions are ongoing it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the detail of those talks which should remain confidential to the parties. However, inflation and cost of living issues to which the Deputies have referred will feature in those discussions.

These are very challenging discussions given the impact high levels of inflation are having on living standards of workers but also because of the uncertainty in the global economic outlook. The aim in these talks will be to strike the right balance and seek to achieve a deal that is fair and affordable to both taxpayers generally and public service employees.

An agreement on public service pay could play an important role in underpinning stability, minimising industrial unrest and supporting the continued delivery of reform and quality public services over the period ahead. However, any such agreement would need to reflect the broader economic context and the current fiscal position where significant challenges are emerging.

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