Fórsa’s new general secretary has expressed frustration at the Government’s handling of the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA), and says there is a risk of the agreement unravelling unless there is urgent action to address its weaknesses.
Kevin Callinan, who took over as general secretary of the 80,000-strong union in July, said problems he had raised in March had yet to be resolved. This despite informal talks with senior officials in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) over recent weeks.
He said the PSSA, which delivered a fourth pay adjustment of 1.75% this month was coming under pressure.
Kevin said a process for addressing profession-specific and grade-specific pay issues across the civil and public service should be put in place quickly. He called for this to be done with a view to reaching agreement in each area by the end of next March, so that talks on a successor to the PSSA could deal with the outcomes.
The PSSA is due to conclude at the end of 2020, which means negotiations would have to begin in the middle of next year in time for any proposed successor to be put to ballots of the various unions’ members.
Kevin said Fórsa’s Consultative Council, which is made up of representatives of all the union’s branches, would meet next month to consider developments.
“If there is still no progress at that stage, I envisage the union authorising the preparation of claims for the various grades, groups and categories, and developing an industrial strategy to progress them.
“We would be in an untenable situation if the instability around the PSSA continues to drift – one that would demand a significant shift in Fórsa’s emphasis, with potentially serious implications for the future of the agreement,” he said.