I’m writing to update you on the public sector pay talks, which adjourned at 3AM on Thursday morning.
As you know, public sector trade unions have sought cost of living increases for our collective members working in the public and civil service. You will be aware from our last notice to members that talks adjourned before Christmas. We reconvened this week with a view to getting a deal over the line.
Before entering this process, I and my colleagues in other public sector unions made it clear that any successor to Building Momentum must address the cost-of living costs faced by members.
Following almost 11 weeks of engagement, some progress was made on the structure of normalising industrial relations processes.
The issue of pay was put on the table for the first time late Wednesday evening and the Government’s offer failed to meet the basic test of dealing with the cumulative gap between wages and inflation over the last three years.
Throughout this process we have been clear that any agreement must address the cost-of-living pressures our members face on a daily basis.
The first offer made on Wednesday night would have put little more than an average of just €5 per week, before deductions, in the wages of low-income public service workers, and €10 per week in the wages of those on middle-incomes in the first year. That offer did not include any payment before June 2024. This type of offer would not be seen as credible to INMO members.
The revised offer of 7.5% (plus 1% for claims to be pursued through local bargaining), which would begin with a 1.5% increase from 1 March 2024, remains very far from addressing the shortfall between wages and inflation. The talks adjourned on this basis at 3am on Thursday.
All of the trade unions and associations representing the public service met at 10AM on Thursday morning and agreed that the Government’s offer must be improved, we have advised the WRC that we are available to continue to arrive at this position. At the trade union meeting this morning it was also agreed that we would now start preparing for ballots and ballot wording has been agreed, this will be required if the deal is not sufficient. Your Executive Council met this evening and following this update from the General Secretary they have fully endorsed this position.
Nurses and midwives and all workers across the public sector work incredibly hard on behalf of our country. Public sector workers show up for our country and our citizens every day, this level of commitment must be recognised in a decent public sector deal. I understand that INMO members want to be assured that the Government recognises their efforts, and this does require negotiating a public sector agreement in good faith with the unions that represent them.
I will keep you updated as matters progress.
Phil Ní Sheaghdha
INMO General Secretary
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