Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Sean Fleming has called for Minister Brendan Howlin to urgently clarify how he intends to deal with public servants whose union has not signed up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

The Minister signed the commencement order today for the agreement to come in to force in January. However members of the ASTI and TUI teaching unions as well as the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors voted to reject the proposals.

Deputy Fleming commented, “I welcomed the proposed agreement at the time it was signed as it was in line with the formula Fianna Fáil put forward for improving the take home pay of public servants in line with broader improvements in living standards across the economy.

“It is significant that in most previous national agreements there was a single vote of the public service committee of ICTU by which all constituent members were bound. However on this occasion the deal was put to each union individually.

“As 3 unions rejected the deal, the question now arises as to how their members will be treated from January when the agreement comes in to force. There have been suggestions that these groups would lose out on incremental pay rises due next year. In the case of secondary teachers it would appear that about €1,600 in supervision and substitution payments which are due to be introduced in two phases from next September are also under threat.

“The Minister is potentially on a collision course with union members in key areas of the public service. It is imperative that he sets out clearly the course of action he intends to take and if he is open to clarifying aspects of the agreement for union members. There is no precedent in the State’s history for treating public sector employees differently based solely on union membership.

“Following the upheaval in secondary schools relating to reform of the Junior Cert, the last thing schools need is further disruption. The Minister should be amenable to making reasonable efforts to ensure this does not come to pass,” concluded Deputy Fleming.