Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today said it understood the move by government to bring forward the terms of the Lansdowne Road Agreement, in line with the better than expected economic performance and the importance of maintaining industrial peace and a collective approach to pay in the public service. However, the group cautioned that pay trends must reflect what is affordable, given the competing demand for resources. Any new deal must fully take into account the value of enhanced job security and pension entitlements in the public sector, relative to the private sector.
With the report of the Public Service Pay Commission expected by Easter, Ibec emphasised the need to maintain a strong collective pay agreement for the public sector. Ibec said any new arrangement must reflect the needs of business and the wider economy, not just public sector workers, and must include taxation reform and new investment in infrastructure and public services.
Ibec Director of Employer Relations Maeve McElwee said: "It is in everyone's interest to have a coordinated approach to public sector pay determination and the competing demands for resources. The economy has improved faster than envisaged, but new uncertainties have emerged; not least the risks that Brexit presents. Any review of pay must also reflect the full value of pension entitlements in the public sector, which far outstrip those typically available in the private sector, along with the great level of job security.
"Government must address the underlying issues driving pay demands, such as housing and childcare costs, rather than using the blunt and expensive instrument of accelerated compensation to off set very specific cost of living expenses. At a headline level, there is currently no inflation in the economy. Targeting specific cost of living factors at source is the best way to protect competitiveness."