Belfast Telegraph

Public servants face wage bill fall

Senior public servants have been warned the Government is looking for more efficiency as it revealed the wage bill for the sector will fall by a fifth by 2015.

Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, released figures which show total salaries will come down from 17.5 billion euro at the peak in 2009 to 13.7 billion euro - a 3.8 billion euro saving.

The minister said the savings, by any measure, were very significant.

But Mr Howlin told the Public Service Executive Union annual delegate conference in Kilkenny further reductions in resources and staff numbers are necessary and unavoidable

"We need to look at more radical and innovative ways to extract costs and deliver increased productivity and reform," he said.

"It is important that all staff get behind the delivery of change, whether it is changing employer or location, retraining and upskilling to do different things, cooperating with the introduction of shared service operations, or changing the way in which we interact with customers and business.

"Further reform is necessary for the public service to function effectively into the future."

Mr Howlin said the Government was committed to the Croke Park agreement, which deals with improving efficiencies in return for wage protection. He said: "However, as we have said many times now, this will only be possible if there is full and continued cooperation with the implementation of the change and reform agendas."

Across the public service by last December, staffing numbers had fallen by more than 23,000 from their 2008 peak and a further 7,500 retired in January and February this year.

Mr Howlin told the PSEU the Government was still looking to create a single public service with standardised arrangements for annual leave and a review of allowances and sick leave.

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