Public sector wage negotiations stall overnight without a deal

Leaders of the public sector union will discuss whether there is any basis to return to negotiations on a review of the current wage deal after discussions this morning.

Alks adjourned around 3 p.m. with both sides following the union’s demand for additional payments to compensate for the increase in inflation.

The Workplace Relations Commission has asked the parties to consider whether there is a possibility of a return to talks.

A 1 pc increment is payable under the current Building Momentum Agreement in October, after up to 2 pc increments from the beginning of last year.

Kevin Collinan, chief negotiator and Secretary General of Forsa, said there remained a “significant gap” between the positions of the two sides.

“While some progress was recorded, unfortunately the terms on offer were not something we felt we could recommend,” he told RTE.

“We will now brief the affiliated unions of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions later this morning.

“We note that the Workplace Relations Commission has asked both parties to reflect and we will remain available until they decide that further progress may be possible, even at short notice.” Too.”

He said he did not know if the gap between the parties could be bridged and added that the other side was not ready to move forward.

Members of the Irish Congress of the Trade Union Public Service Committee will brief union representatives this morning.

Earlier this week, Mr Collinan warned that talks to review the current wage deal for 340,000 public servants would fail if the “lack of living standards” were not adequately addressed.

In an email to members of the Public Service Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, he said the actual period shortfall between the “modest” wage increase in the current agreement and the cost of living is “substantial and may still increase”.

He calculates that the difference between the growth payable – if annual – and inflation payable last year was 2.15 pc.

Mr Collinan says that if inflation averaged 7 per cent this year, “and it could be higher”, the difference would be 6.75 per cent.

He said Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Michael McGrath wanted to make a deal before the October budget, and committee officials agreed, at the government’s request, to discuss expanding Building Momentum into 2023.

“We are equally clear that this cannot be a substitute for addressing the shortfall in living standards for 2021-2022,” said Mr Collinan, who is the chairman of the Public Service Committee (PSC).

“The current talks will fail if this deficit is not adequately addressed.

“We are working in good faith to avoid such an outcome, which would fundamentally destabilize the building momentum and make it impossible to extend the agreement into 2023.”

Mr Collinan said the talks that have moved into a more intense phase this week focused on two things.

The first is addressing the deficit amid the current reduction in living standards due to wage hikes stipulated in the Building Momentum Agreement and “unexpectedly high and persistent inflation”.

He said this prompted the Public Services Committee to trigger the Building Momentum Review Clause in March.

The union leader said the minister later said the government was ready to go ahead with the payment terms in the deal.

The second major concern, he said, is extending the Building Momentum Agreement into 2023. He said the minister indicated that the government wanted certainty on the public service pay bill at a time of “economic and geopolitical instability”.