Feature Article
Second pay adjustment under PSSA kicks in
by Diarmaid Mac a Bhaird

The second pay adjustment provided for in the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) came into effect from 1st October 2018. The adjustment is the second this year, following a 1% adjustment in January.

The second pay adjustment provided for in the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) came into effect from 1st October 2018. The adjustment is the second this year, following a 1% adjustment in January.


Updated salary scales for grades represented by the union, across the unions divisions are now being updated on the Fórsa website. Salary scales for the Education, Civil Service and Local Government divisions are already available, while updates on salary scales for the other divisions will be completed shortly.


Please see the links below for updated scales here:

Main provisions of the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA):

  • 1st January 2018: 1% pay adjustment
  • 1st October 2018: 1% pay adjustment
  • 1st January 2019: Pension levy threshold up from €28,750 to €32,000 (worth €325 pa)
  • 1st January 2019: 1% pay adjustment for those earning less than €30,000
  • 1st September 2019: 1.75% pay adjustment
  • 1st January 2020: Pension levy threshold increased to €34,500 (worth €250 pa)
  • 1st January 2020: 0.5% pay increase for those earning less than €32,000
  • 1st October 2020: 2% pay adjustment
Articles A
'Reckless’ board decision put Scouting Ireland jobs at risk
by Diarmaid Mac a Bhaird and Niall Shanahan

Fórsa, which represents the majority of staff in Scouting Ireland, has warned that the jobs of dedicated staff are at risk because of a ‘reckless decision’ made by the board of Scouting Ireland, which stepped down on Saturday (6th October).

Fórsa, which represents the majority of staff in Scouting Ireland, has warned that the jobs of dedicated staff are at risk because of a ‘reckless decision’ made by the board of Scouting Ireland, which stepped down on Saturday (6th October).


The union criticised the decision of the board to reinstate chief scout Christy McCann to head the organisation’s general meeting on Saturday. This decision prompted Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone to suspend state funding for Scouting Ireland, which the union said could put the jobs of Scouting Ireland staff at risk.


Fórsa official Dessie Robinson said the board’s decision could only be seen as reckless. “It puts the jobs of dedicated staff at risk and potentially undermines the services provided to Scouting Ireland’s national network of volunteers,” he said.


Dessie has written to the minister seeking assurances that her decision to suspend state funding won’t undermine services or prevent the payment of salaries.


Scouting Ireland appointed a new board containing 10 directors at its EGM last Saturday (6th October), after its entire board of directors had stepped down earlier in the day.


A spokesperson for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs said Minister Katherine Zappone would review the position on suspending funds for Scouting Ireland following the developments this week.


In a statement on Saturday evening, Scouting Ireland said a new board was elected at its EGM and would now work on implementing new governance structures.


It added that Scouting Ireland would engage with the Department to discuss future funding for the organisation.

Changes to overnight subsistence
by Niall Shanahan

The Civil Service rate for overnight domestic subsistence allowance has increased, effective from 1st October, following an agreed review.

The Civil Service rate for overnight domestic subsistence allowance has increased, effective from 1st October, following an agreed review. The day rates remain unchanged.


The revised rate of €147.00 replaces the current rate of €133.73.


Due to the exceptionally high cost of hotel accommodation in Dublin, especially at peak periods, a new vouched rate for Dublin was introduced last year. Previously the rate had been capped at €167 – consisting of the overnight rate plus the ’10-hour’ subsistence rate – for which a hotel receipt must be provided.


This has now increased to €147.00 plus the 10-hour day rate of €33.61.


Under the terms of the Haddington Road Agreement (2013), the Government signalled its intention to conduct a review of how travel and subsistence rates are calculated. The agreement committed unions and management to cooperating with the review, and with the implementation of a standardised system of travel and subsistence across the public service.


For more details, the circular from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is available here.

Municipal Employees’ Division to ballot on water services
by Hazel Gavigan

The Municipal Employees’ Division of Fórsa decided this week to ballot members to take industrial action as a result of the failure of local authority employers to adhere to the agreement on headcount levels.

The Municipal Employees’ Division of Fórsa decided this week to ballot members to take industrial action as a result of the failure of local authority employers to adhere to the agreement on headcount levels.


Staffing levels in local authority services have fallen well below the levels agreed with employers.


Head of the division Peter Nolan said: “Uncertainty over the future of water services is jeopardising our existing agreements on staffing levels and permanency. We will commence balloting members to take industrial action shortly.”


Peter said it’s likely that Fórsa’s Local Government & Local Services Division will take similar action at its Divisional Executive Committee meeting next week (Wednesday 17th Ocotber).

Local authority news shorts
by Hazel Gavigan and Niall Shanahan

Local authority news updates

Roscommon flexi


Head of division Peter Nolan reports that there's been very slow progress on the operation of the flexi-leave system in Roscommon County Council. Fifty-six applications for flexi-leave have been approved in a revised pilot scheme introduced since the strikes last summer.


The branch has experienced difficulty when requesting management to circulate copies of an August collective agreement conducted under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission. Assistant general secretary Padraig Mulligan has described the developments as "taking two steps forward and one step back".


The pilot scheme will be reviewed at the end of 2018.


Local authority biennial conferences


Fόrsa’s Kilkenny branch has welcomed the union’s decision to hold the Local Government and Local Services biennial divisional conference in Hotel Kilkenny. The conference will take place from the 8th to the 10th May 2019.


Fórsa’s Civil Service biennial divisional conference will take place simultaneously in Kilkenny’s Newpark Hotel. While the Municipal Employees division will hold their biennial seminar in Sligo from the 22nd to the 24th May 2019.


Athy library remains staffed


Athy library will remain staffed, despite a recent announcement by Kildare County Council that it was to become a staffless or ‘open’ library.


Management had previously announced Athy library would become staffless from 1st October this year. Fórsa has since negotiated with management and the decision was reversed.


Head of division Peter Nolan said: “Any local authority that is contemplating opening any of the 23 staffless libraries - agreed under the recent WRC agreement - must ensure that discussions are held with union representatives and that local authority’s health and safety officer.”


Promotion structures in local authorities


Developments in relation to the common recruitment pool in local authorities will be discussed at next week's (Wednesday 17th October) Local Government and Local Services divisional council meeting at Nerney’s Court, Dublin.


The Common Recruitment Pool currently governs the field of competition for positions from grades four to seven.


Local authority employers notified the union they were seeking all posts be made open to public competition. However, following the threat of industrial action, employers have now moved back from that position.


Speaking ahead of the meeting, divisional Cathaoirleach, Sean Reid said it’s vital for the division to provide adequate promotional structures.


“Simply put, we need to ensure that opportunities for promotion in local government are on a par with other public service employments. I would encourage branches to ensure they are represented at the meeting.”


Outsourcing of revenue collection rejected


Fórsa’s south Dublin branch has rejected proposals by south Dublin County Council to privatise the outsourcing of legal services for debt collection.


Union official Úna Faulkner said the branch is opposed to any attempt to privatise this service and has written to the council notifying them of the branch’s position:


“This proposal is not accepted by the union and we fundamentally object to the outsourcing of commercial rates in south Dublin County Council. Fórsa contends that this is the core work of our members and any proposal to outsource breaches the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA),” she said.


The PSSA includes specific protections around the use of direct labour, and requires management to consult with unions and produce a business plan setting out the case for what it calls ‘external service delivery’ if it wishes to outsource a service or part of a service.


Unions secure measures to resolve public service new entrants’ pay issue
by Niall Shanahan

Newly agreed measures on public service new entrants’ pay will mean that public servants will no longer be at a long-term disadvantage based on the year in which they were recruited.

When unions negotiated the Haddington Road Agreement in 2013, they successfully merged the pre-2010 and post-2010 pay scales. The remaining issue to be resolved was that post-2010 recruits had two additional points on their pay scales, which means it takes them two years longer to reach the top of their scale.


The newly agreed measures identify two points on each pay scale - year four and year eight - which new entrant public servants will now skip.


Under the terms agreed in the Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA) last year, we achieved a commitment to resolve the remaining issue, which has now been brought to a conclusion two years earlier than originally anticipated. This completes the task we began by merging the pay scales in 2013.


The measures will apply on the next increment date falling on or after 1st March 2019.


For more information, a full copy of the agreed measures and an illustrated model of how new entrants measures are to be applied, visit the Fórsa website.

Raise The Roof, not the rent
by Hazel Gavigan

Last week's Raise the Roof  rally took place outside Leinster house. There was a strong Fórsa presence, with branch campaign officers, activists and staff from throughout the country in attendance.

The rally coincided with a cross-party motion in the Dáil calling on the Government to enact legislation to lower rents, make it illegal to evict private sector tenants into homelessness and insert a right to housing into the constitution.


The motion also called for a doubling of the capital expenditure on public housing in Budget 2019 and subsequently passed by a wide margin.


Fórsa was well represented with staff and activists out in full support. Sheila Nunan, president of ICTU was MC and speakers included Orla O’Connor, director, National Women’s Council of Ireland, Síona Cahill, president, Union of Students in Ireland and Fr. Peter McVerry.


Senator Frances Black and singer/songwriter Damien Dempsey performed at the rally.


There are approximately ten thousand people who are homeless in Ireland with children making up more than a third of the numbers in emergency accommodation. This figure does not include ‘hidden homelessness’, which refers to people living in squats or ‘sofa surfing’, women and children staying in domestic violence refuges and people who sleep rough.


Fórsa lead organiser, Joe O’Connor expressed his gratitude in particular to the union’s branch campaign officers after the rally: “They played an integral role in the success of the day both by stewarding the stage and mobilising Fórsa activists to come out in large numbers.”


Congress campaign shows appetite for change
by Niall Shanahan

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ report on its housing lobbying campaign shows strong support among TDs for radical action to tackle the housing and homelessness crisis.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ report on its housing lobbying campaign shows strong support among TDs for radical action to tackle the housing and homelessness crisis.


The lobby campaign focused on TDs in Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and independents in government, and sought their support for the Congress Charter for Housing Rights.


The Charter calls for the declaration of a housing emergency, an end to evictions into homelessness, action of security of tenure and rent certainty and establishing a legal right to housing.


The campaign showed the strongest support for the measures outlined in the Charter amongst Fianna Fáil TDs, with the overwhelming majority of the parliamentary party stating they were ‘very supportive’ or ‘broadly supportive’.


There was also support among Fine Gael TDs and some independents for some of the measures. The lobby campaign took place between February and June this year.


Congress President Sheila Nunan said the results of the lobby campaign “showed clear support for a significant and radical change in policy on housing, to tackle the emergency.


“We're told the land is there and the resources can be found. It now seems clear that the political appetite for a change of direction is also there,” Ms Nunan said.


The report is available to download here.

Also in this issue
Careers in Fórsa
Assistant General Secretary (Dublin)

Assistant General Secretary (Dublin)


Fórsa is seeking an assistant general secretary who will be headquartered in our Dublin office. This senior post involves the provision of a wide range of trade union services to Fórsa branches and members. The contract will be offered on a permanent basis subject to a probationary period. The initial assignment will be to provide services to our members in the Civil Service division of the union.


Responsibilities will include union recruitment and organisation as well as negotiations with employers on all matters relating to members’ pay and working conditions.


Applicants should have detailed knowledge and experience of employment law and industrial relations practice, considerable experience of negotiations and of representing groups and individuals, and a demonstrable commitment to trade unionism and social justice. They should also have excellent organisational, communications and team-working skills, be self-starters, IT literate and hold a valid full driving licence. The salary payable reflects the senior nature of this post.


If you think you have the experience, skills, drive and energy for this demanding role please apply with a full CV setting out how your experience and skills meet the requirements of the job to:


The Senior General Secretary, Fórsa, Nerney’s Court, Dublin 1. D01R2C5


To be received by midday on Friday 26th October 2018.


Further information in relation to the duties and requirements of this post is available here.


Fórsa is an equal opportunities employer.

Fórsa Insights podcast – Love In The Wild
by Niall Shanahan

Fórsa Insights is a series of events, talks, film screenings and performances that allows us to explore a range of issues connected to the work of the union and its members. This podcast looks at Lisa Walsh’s play Love In The Wild performed by Anto Seery. Lisa is a social worker and Fórsa member.


In September we hosted a performance of the play at our head office in Nerney’s Court, Dublin. This was followed by a public interview with Lisa and Anto as part of the Fórsa Insights series.



The podcast features some strong language, listener discretion is advised.

Diary marker: Fórsa Women’s Activist Network launch Saturday 3rd November

The launch of the Fórsa Women’s Activist Network will take place on Saturday 3rd November at 11am in our Nerney's Court Office.


This national meeting is the first of a series of new Equality Networks to be established by the Equality Committee over the coming months.


The meeting will be opened by ICTU General Secretary Patricia King and will feature speakers on the gender pay gap, access to flexible working schemes, the role of women within Fórsa and other topics of interest to activists across the union.


Places are available to members on a first come first served basis, lunch will be provided. To book a place please send an email to this address with 'Fórsa Women’s Activist Network' in the subject heading.  


A full programme will be published shortly and made available via a special news bulletin.

Full income inequality assessments needed – Fórsa
by Diarmaid Mac Abhaird

Fórsa has called for equality impact assessments on changes to welfare and benefit payments, as an upcoming Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) report found budgetary decisions in the past 10 years have had a disproportionate impact on women with children compared to their male equivalents.


Fórsa official and equality officer Andy Pike said the report’s findings demonstrated a need for equality impact assessments when making changes to benefit and welfare schemes.


“We welcome the report’s authors calling for gender impact assessments on tax-benefit policy changes. However, such assessments must be conducted before changes are implemented and should not be limited to gender, and also examine impacts on other groupings such as people with disabilities,” he said.


Andy said Fórsa has a particular interest in seeking equality impact assessments as 75% of the union’s membership are women. He added that seeking the introduction of impact assessments was a central part of Fórsa’s wider equality policy.


The ESRI report, which will be published at the end of this month, examines the gender impact of tax-benefit policy in Ireland over the past 10 years. It says within couples with children, women had less disposable income than men, particularly where incomes were not shared.


It also found that changes to welfare and benefit payments and schemes didn’t have a major gender impact on single men or women without children or couples without children.


You can find more information some of the reports findings here. The report will be published on the ESRI website at the end of Ocotber.

Fórsa publishes lobbying records
by Niall Shanahan & Martina O'Leary

Fórsa has submitted its returns to the Lobby Register covering the period from 1st May to 31st August 2018. This brings the union's total number of returns for 2018 to 24.


Lobbying organisations are required to publish their returns no later than 21 days after the end of the relevant reporting period. 


Fórsa submitted 11 returns for the most recent reporting period. The deadline for submissions for this period expired on 21st September.


The latest lobbying returns submitted by Fórsa cover the following matters:

The Regulation of Lobbying Act was signed into law in 2015. Failure to submit a return of lobbying activities carried out during the period by the deadline is a contravention of the Regulation of Lobbying Act.


Enforcement provisions under the act came into effect last year, giving the Standards in Public Office Commission the authority to investigate and prosecute contraventions of the Act and to levy fixed payment notices for late filing of lobbying returns.


Fórsa members who undertake lobbying activity are not required to make a return unless they are lobbying under instruction from the union, such as in the event of a ‘grassroots’ campaign. 


All lobbying activity undertaken by Fórsa staff is reportable, apart from activity classified as ‘excepted communications’ under the legislation.


For more details about the legislation and the register, visit lobbying.ie.


See also: Fórsa trade union profile page on Lobbying.ie.

Fórsa Cavan Monaghan branch broadcasts from European Parliament
by Hazel Gavigan

Fórsa’s Cavan Monaghan branch delegation included Barry Cunningham (assistant general secretary, pictured) and Paul Gibbons of Fórsa’s Monaghan branch who joined MEP Matt Carthy for a live panel discussion in the European Parliament.

Carthy described the members of Fórsa’s Cavan and Monaghan branches who travelled to Brussels last week as “committed representatives of their fellow workers who used the opportunity provided to bring their concerns directly to the heart of EU decision making.”

Topics discussed included Ireland’s current housing crisis and Fórsa’s involvement in the Raise the Roof campaign.

The panel also examined Brexit and its implications on workers, particularly in border counties.

Barry also spoke about Fórsa’s upcoming campaign to achieve pay parity for school secretaries.

Currently, many school secretaries are paid via grants instead of by the Department of Education directly. This leaves them without a pension, having no sick leave entitlements and in a position whereby they require social welfare assistance throughout the summer months.

You can watch the full discussion here.

Fórsa on Instagram
by Roisin McKane

As Fórsa’s social media presence continues to grow we’ve embraced the visual playground of Instagram.


Instagram has become increasingly popular, communicating to audiences using a creative combination of pictures, videos and text, and this year eclipsed Twitter in the rankings of social media popularity.


While its parent company (Facebook) continues to dominate, recent controversies have led to a migration of younger audiences away from the blue giant.


We hope to reach a new and wider audience on Instagram, and that our presence there will be attractive to Fórsa members looking to get involved and engage with the union.


To follow the Fórsa Instagram story, and keep up to date with all the latest union news and updates, click here.