Belfast Telegraph

Government offering talks over pay

The Government is to try and open a second round of talks with unions despite warning the public sector that it would enforce pay cuts.

Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, has asked one of the country's top industrial relations mediators to see if there are grounds for re-run negotiations.

The initiative has been taken after several unions overwhelmingly rejected pay cuts and reforms under Croke Park II.

Mr Howlin said that the Government remained committed to taking 300 million euro off the public sector pay and pensions bill this year, and one billion euro by 2015.

He will ask Kieran Mulvey, chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission, to contact union leaders to see if they are willing to reopen negotiations on cost-cutting.

Among the unions to vote against the first deal - despite Mr Howlin's threat of unilateral pay cuts and reforms - were Siptu, the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO), the Association of Secondary Teachers' of Ireland (Asti), the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI), the Irish Nurses' and Midwives' Organisation (INMO) and the Civil and Public Services Union (CPSU).

A decision was taken at cabinet to try and start a second round of negotiations on the pay deal.

"The Government further agreed to request the CEO of the Labour Relations Commission to make contact with the parties in the coming days to establish whether or not there is a basis for a negotiated agreement to meet these budgetary targets," the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said in a statement.

In response the No2CrokePark2 campaign group called on union leaders not to take up the offer of talks. Spokesperson Eddie Conlon said: "Entering talks would be a betrayal of all those who voted no and said very clearly that they have had enough of austerity and cuts. "

Last week, the INTO said it would ballot its members for strike action in case the Government pushed through with the threats to make unilateral cuts to pay and changes to working regimes following the rejection of Croke Park II.


From Belfast Telegraph