EDITORIAL: Restoration of pay equality

March 25th, 2018 11:40 PM

By Southern Star Team

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WHILE government ministers agree in principle – it would be political suicide not to do so – that equal pay should be restored for 60,500 public servants recruited since 2011 on lower terms and conditions, finding the €200m that this would cost, according to a new report published last week by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, may prove a stumbling block, especially as this would be on top of the pay restoration of between 6.2% and 7.4% agreed for all public servants under the most recent public service pay agreement.

The number of public servants recruited in the past seven years affected by this anomaly, which sees new entrants doing the same jobs as long-serving colleagues for an average of €3,300 less per annum, amounts to just under one-fifth of all employees in the sector and unions are now agitating for equal pay. This will be a big issue at the teachers’ unions conferences the week after next – and we will be hearing a lot about it from them – but the health sector is slightly more affected, with over 42% of the cost of restoration attributable to it, while civil servants, Department of Justice employees (mainly Gardaí), local authority workers and the Defence Forces account for the other areas of the public sector seeking pay equality for those affected.

Informed by the Department’s report on the costings involved, talks on the restoration of pay equality for public sector workers can now be held, but they need to be cognisant of the economic realities.

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