Public sector talks: partial pay restoration fails to adequately compensate for losses

unite-white-out-of-redRegarding non-pay elements, Unite hopes that exclusion of labour costs from outsourcing evaluations will help halt race to the bottom

Union to assess details before deciding on recommendation

May 29th: In an initial reaction to the outcome of the public sector talks which concluded this afternoon, trade union Unite extended a cautious welcome to “partial pay restoration”, but pointed out that the agreement fails to adequately compensate public sector workers for the losses suffered since the onset of the economic crisis.

Commenting, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Richie Browne, the union’s lead negotiator in the talks, said:

“Since the start of the crisis, workers who provide the services on which we all rely have paid for a crisis not of their making. They have endured pay cuts, the pension levy, increased taxes and charges, job losses, cuts in sick pay, longer hours and the increased pressures associated with the public sector recruitment moratorium. In that context, ground gained by workers as a result of these talks is limited and only amounts to a very partial restoration of what has been lost over the past number of years”.

“However, while the outcome of these negotiations in no way adequately compensates public sector workers for the losses endured over recent years, we have succeeded in ensuring that the benefits are skewed towards lower paid workers.

“With regard to the non-pay elements of these talks, Unite regards the growing use of outsourcing as a threat both to the quality of our public services and to the jobs of our members. In this context, we are pleased that the mandatory evaluations undertaken prior to any outsourcing will exclude the totality of labour costs when drawing up cost comparisons. This will hopefully ensure that poverty pay does not act as a ‘pull factor’ and help halt the race to the bottom.

“Unite will be considering the detail of the agreement and consulting with our representatives before deciding what, if any, recommendation we will issue to our members in advance of balloting”, Richie Browne concluded.

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