ICTU president and Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan led the trade union delegation at last week’s meeting of the Labour Employer Economic Forum (LEEF), as unions made a strong case for the need for very substantial assistance to help all workers, including public servants, cope with the cost-of-living crisis.
The LEEF meets approximately four times a year and brings together senior Government, trade union and employer representatives to discuss economic, employment and labour market issues.
In a circular issued to Fórsa branch secretaries last week, Kevin said the unions addressed the issue of additional costs already being experienced by workers due to rising energy prices: “With further increases anticipated, we said that there was a real risk of energy poverty for many not just those who rely on social welfare benefits.
“The employer representatives supported very significant government intervention to assist households and businesses and called for a huge fiscal response utilising buoyant exchequer finances,” he said.
Kevin said unions formed the view, during the meeting, that the Government was moving toward a similar viewpoint. He said the Government side remains sensitive to developments in the EU, and the UK, and that the final scale of intervention had yet to be decided.
In a special bulletin about the ballot on the revised public service pay package - issued to all Fórsa members last Thursday (8th September) - Kevin added that the Government has indicated its intention to introduce a further range of 'cost-of-living' measures, and that these are anticipated as part of Budget 2023, which is to be announced on Tuesday 27th September.