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Government failing to take pay talks seriously

28 June 2022

Labour employment spokesperson, Marie Sherlock has questioned the commitment of the Government to re-start public sector pay talks after two weeks of deafening silence following the breakdown of negotiations between unions and public sector employers.  

Senator Sherlock said:

“Almost two weeks on from the collapse of talks and in the week where thousands of the highest paid public servants will see very significant pay increases, there has been deafening silence from the Government. They must get real, show some urgency and put fair and reasonable pay proposals on the table for low and middle paid public sector workers.

The reality is that public sector workers need certainty, otherwise we risk summer of discontent that we are already seeing around some Section 39 organisations and in areas of the private sector. Large swathes of public sector are in low and middle income jobs and they are struggling to put food on the table and like so many people across Ireland not able to cope with the dramatic increases in the cost of living. Something has to give.

"We know that 61% of all health workers earn below €41,600 per year and 54% of all health workers with thousands in clerical and local authority roles earning wages which provide no spare capacity to deal with spiraling food, energy and fuel prices.

"Ultimately, it is not just the 300,000 people working in the public sector that depend on a pay deal, but the thousands of others whose pay is benchmarked or linked to public sector pay and reliant on public services.

“Ireland needs a pay rise. With runaway inflation and real concerns of winter energy blackouts, working people simply cannot wait any longer. The government have shown pay increases are possible when there’s political will. It simply cannot just be for the upper echelons in society. It’s time for a level of fairness when it comes to tackling the cost of living crisis in Ireland. The Government must commit to pay increases for low and middle paid public sector workers.”