Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Louise O’Reilly TD, has accused the government of playing a reckless political game by publishing sensitive details of public-sector pay agreement negotiations before the Public Services Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions could brief affiliated unions.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“Public sector pay agreements, agreed through negotiation between the Public Services Committee (PSC) of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and government, are the best way to ensure stability for the state, strong public services, and fairness for workers.
“However, since 1st January 2024 public sector workers have been outside of a pay agreement, and last night negotiations between the PSC and government broke down.
“It is clear from the conduct of government that they have adopted a strategy of force and frustration with the PSC.
“This started with the government’s refusal to conclude a deal before the Building Momentum agreement expired, and has now spiralled into playing a reckless political game by publishing sensitive details of the negotiations before ICTU could brief affiliated unions.
“The actions of Minister Donohoe and government show they are more concerned with trying to colour public opinion than address the very real recruitment and retention issues which exist across the public service.
“The PSC has been very clear that the offer from government did not reflect the seriousness of the impact of inflation on workers.
“Furthermore, and crucially, they stated that government proposals would in no way address the crippling recruitment and retention crisis affecting key sectors across the public service, namely, health, education, and policing, amongst others.
“The government cannot on one hand lament the crippling impact of the shortage of teachers, nurses, doctors, and Gardaí, and on the other hand propose a deal which they know will not address this shortage.
“I am calling on Minister Donohoe to return to the negotiating table and re-engage with the PSC with a view to delivering a pay agreement which reflects the impact of inflation on workers, and which will address the recruitment and retention crisis in key sectors – anything less is a failure to workers and the public services which we all rely on.”