The forthcoming public service pay talks must go beyond simply unwinding the ‘FEMPI’ legislation, to ensure that lower paid staff benefit, according to IMPACT. Speaking at the union’s education conference in Cork last month, deputy general secretary Kevin Callinan said staff earning less than €28,750 a year would not benefit from further unwinding of FEMPI as the legislation now only affected incomes above that level.
“The limited progress we have already made has taken the lowest paid – those earning up to €28,750 a year – out of the scope of the pay cuts and pension levy. That includes thousands of clerical staff, special needs assistants, school secretaries, caretakers and others. In the absence of a broader pay round, unwinding FEMPI will be of no benefit to those on the very lowest incomes in this and other sectors,” he said.
Talks on a successor to the Lansdowne Road agreement are expected to start in May after the Government receives the report of the Public Service Pay Commission.
Gina O’Brien, chairperson of the IMPACT education division, said unions would also seek to protect pensions in the forthcoming talks. She said: “We’ve all experienced the negative impact of the crisis on our livelihoods and working conditions. This month we have experienced some recovery in our pay, small but heading in a positive direction.
“We know that we still live in a fragile economy, and a balance must be struck between recognition for the sacrifices we’ve made, the need for investment in services, and the realities of what can realistically be recouped. The time has come for pay restoration and improvements for every worker across the economy.
“This will help sustain the economic recovery, and contribute to the growth in jobs now happening across all sectors. But a successor to the Lansdowne Road agreement can’t be just about pay. When entering talks we will vehemently protect pensions, and maintain job security for public servants.”