Workplace Report January 2021

European news

Irish unions agree new public sector deal

Union negotiators have reached agreement in principle on a new two-year pay deal for workers in the public sector in Ireland, which is likely to result in a real terms pay increase, at least in 2021.

The agreement, accepted by the Public Services Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) on 11 December, provides for an annual increase of 1% or €500, whichever is the greater on both 1 October 2021 and 1 October 2022, plus an increase on 1 February 2022, worth 1% of pay overall, but distributed in different ways depending on the sector concerned.

Prices in Ireland are currently falling – down 1.1% in the 12 months to November 2020 – and European Commission forecasts are that they will rise by just 0.3% in 2021 and 1.6% in 2022, so the proposed increases are likely to outstrip inflation.

The deal, which was facilitated by national conciliation body, the Workplace Relations Commission, now goes back to the individual unions for a final decision.

However, it seems likely that it will be accepted. Kevin Callinan, general secretary of the largest public sector union, Fórsa, who led the negotiations for the unions, said: “The pay terms represent a realistic and acceptable approach to incomes, and they are substantially skewed towards lower earners in a very challenging context of limited resources.”