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Public sector pay talks to resume tomorrow

Public sector pay talks are set to resume tomorrow at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) after adjourning before Christmas without agreement.

Unions had expressed concern and disappointment at the slow pace of the negotiations and have threatened industrial action if a new pay deal is not agreed.

The Public Services Committee (PSC) of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) is due to meet on Thursday to sign off on the wording of ballots for industrial action.

The existing pay agreement, Building Momentum, expired at the end of the last year.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, Fórsa General Secretary Kevin Callinan, who also chairs the PSC, said it was unacceptable that a pay deal has not been agreed and that unions have “no clue” what the Government is planning in relation to pay.

“On Thursday, if necessary, we will finalise ballots for industrial action by the various unions and they will take place over the next few weeks,” Mr Callinan said.

Last week, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe said he would not be influenced by threats of industrial action and that he was hopeful talks would resume this week.

“I want an agreement in relation to public service pay, I want that because I believe it is right that we give our civil servants, our doctors, our nurses, and our teachers certainty about the future of their pay,” Mr Donohoe said.

“My commitment to reaching such an agreement is not going to be influenced by any statements in relation to industrial relations or in relation to ballots on industrial disputes taking place,” he added.

Last month, as part of the pay talks, the Government agreed to repeal emergency industrial relations legislation introduced during the financial crisis.

Unions had asked for the removal of the legislation claiming it had made it too difficult for individual sectors and grades to have issues addressed outside of the scope of existing pay deals.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said that its aim is to reach a mutually acceptable outcome that is fair, reasonable and affordable for public servants and taxpayers.

If a new agreement is reached, it will mean a pay increase for 385,000 public servants including nurses, doctors, gardaí and teachers.

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