Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr Brendan Howlin T.D., has invited the Public Services Committee of ICTU to discussions on an approach to commencing the unwinding of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) legislation.

Speaking this afternoon, the Minister noted:

“Having discussed the matter with my Government colleagues, I have now invited the representative organisations for public servants to enter discussions with public service management on how best to unwind the FEMPI Acts, while maintaining in place the productivity, reform and industrial relations structures provided for under the Haddington Road Agreement.”

Discussions on pay will, of course, take place in the context of the State’s fiscal position and the pace of financial recovery for this year and 2016.  The Minister noted that the recovery in Ireland’s fiscal position is in no small part due to the contribution of public servants to keeping the cost of the public service pay bill at sustainable levels.

The Minister said:

“I believe that all public servants fully understand that we are not discussing the immediate restoration of pay, but a more gradual and sustainable approach in line with the improvements in the economy under this Government.”

The legal position concerning the financial emergency legislation, which has underpinned the reductions to date, has to be addressed as part of putting in place sustainable pay setting arrangements in the public service for the future.

Apart from the pay measures, the public service has embarked on a very ambitious programme of workplace reform.  Public service productivity has been boosted through additional workplace hours, new shared services, unprecedented redeployment of staff, a 10% reduction in numbers, reforms of sick and annual leave and so on, with ongoing reform now a daily reality for all public servants.

“I expect that all sides to these discussions will meet with the aim and intention of making an agreement that is fair to all involved – those who are dependent on public services, employers, and public servants themselves – and an agreement that sustains the continuing economic recovery.”

The talks will begin in May.

ENDS

 

Note to Editor:

The Public Services Committee of ICTU includes the majority of trade unions with a mandate to represent public servants. Parallel discussions will be organised with associations representing members of An Garda Siochana and the Defence Forces.

A separate process of consultation is underway with an association representing public service pensioners.

The Financial Emergency in the Public Interest Acts 2009 – 2013 comprise five pieces of primary legislation under which cuts in gross rates of pay and pension, and a pension related deduction, were applied to the income of serving and former public servants to assist in the process of reductions in public expenditure.  The Minister is required under the Acts to present an annual review (by 30 June each year) of the legislation to the Houses of the Oireachtas.