Fianna Fáil has today launched its proposals on public sector pay. The party has highlighted the need to ensure that improvements in the take home pay of middle to low income public servants are in line with general wage improvements in the economy.
The party’s Spokesperson on Public Expenditure Seán Fleming has said every family in Ireland has suffered financially in recent years and have all contributed to Ireland’s recovery. Each section of society should feel the benefit of improved living standards.
“There have been attempts to denigrate the role of public servants by certain commentators. The country must not be divided into competing groups of public sector and private sector workers. This is an opportunity to acknowledge the huge sacrifices that have been made by public servants in recent years,” Deputy Fleming said.
“I believe the central issue in these talks is the level of take home pay for public servants. This can be achieved through changes to pay levels, the pension levy, universal social charge, PRSI and PAYE taxes, or a combination of these.
“We are supportive of the idea of a flat rate increase combined with a percentage increase for employees as part of these negotiations. This would be of most benefit to low and middle income public sector staff. We also believe that the pension levy should be reformed in a manner that is consistent with our stated objective of provided the greatest percentage gain to low and middle income earners.
“The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) report due at the end of June 2015 should provide the necessary detail for assessing the state of the public finances prior to the conclusion of a pay agreement, and talks should not be concluded until this report has been published.
“The Haddington Road agreement is due to expire in June 2016 and any new agreement should be finalised by this coming September. Proper planning requires that changes due for implementation in 2016 are reflected in the estimates on a Department by Department basis in October 2015.
“Other issues that must be addressed are the need to lift the moratorium on public sector recruitment and ensure full equality for newly recruited public servants. There is also an onus on the government to bring forward detailed proposals as to how it plans to restore frontline services.
“Public Sector pensioners were unfairly excluded from the Haddington Road process and I want to see representatives of the 140,000 retired public servants included in these discussions. We also need a clear external and independent verification process for the costs and targets associated with any agreement. The Minister made a major error when he dropped this from the Haddington Road outcome.
“It is important that the process of public sector reform is maintained. This will include the implementation of new technology and the roll out of more services online,” concluded Deputy Fleming.