Relatively low starting salaries for certain grades have made recruitment a problem in many parts of the civil service, according to Fórsa national secretary Andy Pike. He has called for civil service management to be given the flexibility to pay staff above the usual entry rates, where necessary, in order to attract suitably qualified staff.
Andy said the problem was starkest in professional and technical areas, but was not confined to them.
“Civil service bodies have struggled to hire meteorologists, cleaners, special education needs organisers, and civilian staff in Garda stations in recent months. Across the state’s laboratories, law offices and many specialist agencies, the current starting salaries are no longer competitive compared to the private sector labour market for specialist staff,” he said.
The national conference, which took place in Killarney last week, heard that uncompetitive entry pay in parts of the civil service had left State bodies struggling to recruit cleaners, solicitors, meteorologists, radio officers, agricultural officers, valuers, Oireachtas researchers, translation staff, SENOs, and others.
Outlining similar problems in the health sector union official Éamonn Donnelly said no profession or union had “a monopoly” on the issue, and warned the Government to be even-handed in its response to the Public Service Pay Commission’s (PSPC) examination of the problem.
The Public Service Stability Agreement requires the Commission to undertake a detailed examination of recruitment and retention issues in areas it has already identified as problematic. That work is currently underway, and Fórsa made separate submissions regarding the civil service and health and social care professionals.