A timetable for negotiations on the implementation of a civil service arbitration finding, which effectively backed Fórsa’s claim over the unilateral withdrawal of accelerated increments in the Central Statistics Office (CSO), has been agreed with management. Talks have now begun, with fortnightly meetings scheduled.
Earlier this year, the arbitration concluded that the withdrawal of so-called ‘jump increments’ for statisticians hired after 2012 was a breach of an existing collective agreement, which was not permitted under national public service agreements.
The established practice of jump increments was put in place to deal with severe difficulties in recruiting and retaining statisticians. It allowed management to award three additional increments at certain points of the long pay scale if it was warranted by capability, efficiency or level of responsibility.
Without this mechanism, staff who can easily find well-paid jobs in the private sector, would have to work for over 20 years before reaching the top of their pay scale.
The arbitration board found that the agreed practice had been unilaterally withdrawn without consultation. This was “highly questionable and unacceptable, and is irreconcilable with the prevailing procedural norms,” it said.
It told the parties to engage with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable resolution, and said the board would issue a conclusive recommendation if this proved impossible.