Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure & Reform Dara Calleary says substantial challenges remain on pay and conditions despite a public sector pay deal being reached between unions and the Government last night.

Commenting on the agreement, Deputy Calleary explained, “This agreement is vague at best when it comes to the issue of pay equalisation.  Workers who joined after 2013 will still be paid less than their colleagues who took up their posts before then, despite doing the exact same job.  This is a major issue and the Government must outline in more detail how it intends to deal with it.  It’s difficult to see how this issue can be properly addressed given the current financial constraints but efforts must be made to bring newer workers in line with their colleagues.

“Staff retention is another key issue affecting the public sector; however this agreement fails to fully address the measures needed to address it. In areas like nursing and the defence forces numbers have been falling to critical levels. This not only affects the services themselves, but also the conditions that existing employees are working under.

“Fianna Fáil has long called for the unwinding of FEMPI in a fiscally responsible manner and we want to see a fair deal for public sector workers, but particularly for lower and middle income earners.  It is imperative that we have strong sustainable public services and that industrial unrest is avoided.

“Issues surrounding pay equalisation and staff retention will not go away despite agreement being reached and the Government must outline how these issues will be dealt with in the weeks and months ahead”, concluded Deputy Calleary.