SIPTU gives go-ahead for strike ballots on public service pay

It has set a February 1st deadline for talks with Government

SIPTU gives go-ahead for strike ballots on public service pay

Liberty Hall in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

The national executive council of SIPTU has authorised ballots by its members for industrial action and strike action on public service pay.

It follows a monthly meeting of the executive council in Liberty Hall, Dublin today.

The council is asking various negotiating committees to prepare for balloting to begin on Thursday December 1st.

In a statement, the council said: "Throughout the very difficult years since the economic collapse of 2008 the NEC of SIPTU has recommended acceptance of extremely difficult choices in both the industrial and political arena across the private and the public service.

"We did so in order to ensure that our members and working people generally would hold as much ground as possible and to preserve the economic independence of the country itself.

"We always made it clear that when circumstances changed we would take whatever action was necessary to re-take lost ground.

"This is precisely what we have been doing as the economic recovery has gathered momentum."

"Over the past year the representatives of several unions, including our own, have repeatedly urged the Government to open negotiations with a view to amending the Lansdowne Road Agreement to accelerate the rate of pay restoration in the light of a rapidly improving economy.

"As of this date the Government has refused to do so. Meanwhile, it has indicated that it is amenable to the application of preferential terms to individual groups."

"An agreement must be relevant to the circumstances which prevail during the period of its application. It must also be applied equitably."

it said mandates will be given to its members unless the Government issues an invitation to talks to the Public Services Committee of Congress.

It has also set a deadline for this of no later than February 1st.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) - the umbrella group which represents unions in both the private and public sector - yesterday proposed giving the Government an extra two weeks to decide on discussions.

SIPTU General President Jack O'Connor says the ballot dates could be spread out, depending on particular unions.