Belfast Telegraph

Public sector workers can expect above-inflation pay rise in 2020 – Taoiseach

Leo Varadkar said pay increases in the public sector must be affordable for the taxpayer and sustainable.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has praised public sector workers (Brian Lawless/PA)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has praised public sector workers (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Aine McMahon PA

The Taoiseach has said he expects public sector pay to rise higher than the rate of inflation.

Leo Varadkar said he anticipates pay increases in the public sector in 2020 but they must be linked to reform.

The Government has adopted a series of “one-size-fits-all” deals with public service unions covering pay, conditions and reforms across the entire public sector over the past decade.

That may change as nurses secured additional pay on top of the current public service pay agreement following strike action and reforms being undertaken by the Gardai.

We want people to know that their pay increases are forever and won't be taken away again. Leo Varadkar

Speaking to reporters in Dublin at Christmas, Leo Varadkar said: “I’m glad that we’ve been able over the last couple of years to restore pay. It’s not fully restored yet but for the vast majority of public servants it is now.

“To be able to fully restore pay and give some increases in some areas and that will continue into next year. There’s due to be a small increase in February and there are increases throughout the year.

“It is inevitably going to be the case that during the course of 2020 we will negotiate a new pay deal with public servants. We anticipate that would allow public sector pay to continue to rise.

“I can see a rise faster than the cost of living, that’s what people generally want, for their pay to go up faster than the rate of inflation.

“We also need to make sure it’s affordable for the taxpayer. We need to make sure it’s sustainable. We don’t want to go back to the past where we had massive pay increases one year and pay cuts a year later.

“We want people to know that their pay increases are forever and won’t be taken away again.

“We also need to make sure that as we increase pay for public service, that that is linked to reforms in the way our public service works. And we’re seeing big reforms now in the Gardai for example.

“My message to public sector workers as we face Christmas and the new year is ‘thank you for the phenomenal work that you do’.

“We’ve great public servants whether it’s our teachers and people who work in schools to help us have one of the best education systems in the world, whether it’s people in health who work extremely hard, whether it’s civil servants here, local authority workers, they work very hard and do a very good job in the round for our country.”

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