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Govt could show ‘flexibility’ over public sector pay

The Taoiseach has said that a pay agreement with public sector unions can still be made, and indicated that the Government could show “flexibility”.

Leo Varadkar said he was “very disappointed” that talks between the Government and unions broke down.

Following the breakdown of talks at the Workplace Relations Commission, unions said that the offer by the Government was not credible as it failed to recognise that there had been a shortfall in pay against inflation in the previous pay agreement.

The Minister for Public Expenditure said that the proposals would see wages increase by around 8.5% over two-and-a-half years.

Paschal Donohoe said the pay increase package was worth €2.9 billion and added that the lowest paid public sector workers would see their pay increase by 12% during the period of the agreement.

Unions and staff associations said that the proposals were “extremely disappointing”.

However the Taoiseach said that the Government wants to come to an agreement, and that the offer of 8.5% or 12% for the lowest paid workers was a good offer.

“It is an agreement that I think can still be made. Bear in mind these are our nurses, defence force members our gardaí, our teachers, our civil servants, our local authority workers,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said the WRC will engage with Government and the unions and see if there is a basis to resume the talks and come to an agreement: “That I think would require some degree of flexibility from both sides.”

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