AKC News // National Wage Deal includes pay pauses

The new national wage agreement will include provisions to prevent employers using temporary agency workers to break strikes, according to the Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

The deal provides for a 6% pay increase over 21 months in two phases. It also includes a 0.5% increase at the end of the agreement for lower paid workers. There will be an 11-month pay pause for the public sector and a three-month pay pause for all private sector workers.

Agreement was reached after 22 hours of intensive negotiations and after grave concerns had been raised about the pay elements by the Construction Industry Federation. Unions and employers are now consulting their members.

Speaking at Government Buildings after the negotiation of the draft deal, Mr Cowen said a range of initiatives in the employment law area would be set up. These would include a process on the employment and rights of temporary agency workers by prohibiting their use in the case of official strikes or ballots.

There will also be a statutory prohibition on the victimisation of trade union members and inducements to encourage trade union members to leave their unions. The Taoiseach also says the agreement contains commitments on public service modernisation to reflect the OECD report on the sector earlier this year.

He said he had not given any specific promises about the Budget but had emphasised the difficult fiscal situation. Mr Cowen said deferring difficult issues led to greater problems afterwards but that this deal would help to get the country back into a positive position when the economy recovered.

The following is a summary of the terms of the draft national wage agreement:

- The overall pay deal involves an increase of 6% over 21 months, which works out at about 3.5% on an annualised basis.

- There will be an extra 0.5% for low paid workers earning less than €430.49 per week, or around €22,463 per annum.

- All private sector workers will have a three-month pay pause. They will then receive a 3.5% increase over 6 months, and a further 2.5% for the following year.

- Public sector workers will have an 11-month pay pause from the last module of Towards 2016. They will then receive 3.5% for the next nine months (commencing September 1 2009), and a further 2.5% for the remainder of the agreement.

- The agreement also includes a range of initiatives to protect workers. This includes a prohibition on the use of temporary agency workers in the cause of official disputes or lockouts.

- Employers will also be prohibited from victimising employees for trade union members, or offering them inducements to give up union membership.

- A time-limited process to discuss issues of appropriate employee representation will also be set up.

- The social partners are still finalising the text of the agreement.

Source: RTE Business

Date : 17-09-2008