Government agrees to bring forward pay rise for tens of thousands of public servants

Cabinet has approved the increase for those earning less than €65,000 from April 1st

Government agrees to bring forward pay rise for tens of thousands of public servants

Paschal Donohoe. Photo: RollingNews.ie

A €20 a week pay rise for tens of thousands of public servants has been brought forward.

The Cabinet has approved the increase for those earning less than €65,000 from April 1st, which was due under the Lansdowne Road Agreement from September.

It will cost €120 million, which the Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe says will be found through "efficiencies and savings".

Those who get the extra money will have to commit to no strike action, and it will not be given to Gardaí who last year secured their own increase from January 1st.

The Government had taken part in fresh 'engagement' with unions over the Lansdowne Road pay agreement following the Garda pay deal reached in November.

Minister Donohoe said: “The Labour Court Recommendation on Garda pay issued on 3rd of November last had serious implications for the continued viability of the Lansdowne Road Agreement and this needed to be addressed.”

He added: "I don't accept at all that this is capitulation. If the Government had not accepted the Labour Court recommendation, [we] would have been standing in front of you having to deal with questions regarding why we undermined the final court of resolution for industrial relations within our State".

In a statement, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions said: "The Public Services Committee of ICTU recognises the value of this payment but has advised the management side that outstanding issues will be pursued in the further talks to take place following the initial report of the Public Service Pay Commission."

The Department of Public Expenditure says the commission is due to deliver its initial report in the second quarter of this year. 

According to the department, "once this report is available, the Government intends to initiate negotiations on a successor to the Lansdowne Road Agreement ahead of Budget 2018 considerations."

Additional reporting by Stephen McNeice