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Thursday 8 December 2016

Unions 'putting a gun to the Government's head' - Ibec

Ibec leader Danny McCoy
Ibec leader Danny McCoy

The leader of the country's main employer group has accused unions of putting a "gun to the Government's head" after Siptu threatened industrial action if it fails to hold New Year pay talks.

Ibec director general Danny McCoy was commenting after Siptu leader Jack O'Connor demanded fresh pay talks on accelerating refunds of pay cuts for public servants. The union leader wants the negotiations be announced by next Thursday and to start by February 1.

Mr McCoy said it was understandable that there would be a desire for pay to be restored but there had to be evidence this was warranted.

"Putting a gun to the Government's head for a quick response is a bit unreasonable," he said. "A reasonableness is required here given the resources available to the Government and many competing claims, including requirements for taxation cuts and investment in infrastructure."

Boost

Meanwhile, in a letter to members, Impact general secretary Shay Cody said he had told Public Expenditure minister Paschal Donohoe most public servants wanted pay restoration to be managed through a negotiated agreement.

However, Mr Cody said he warned him this "would not continue to be possible if certain groups - whether inside or outside Lansdowne Road - were treated more favourably than others".

Mr Donohoe is expected to seek Cabinet approval for the announcement of a "timeline" for fresh talks on public sector pay in a meeting on Tuesday. However, he has insisted he remains committed to the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Meanwhile, the Garda Representative Association (GRA) has produced a paper that leans heavily towards accepting the €40m garda pay deal, in a move that will come as a major boost to the Government.

Despite adopting no formal position on the Labour Court recommendation, the GRA will next week circulate a document to members listing 54 reasons why the deal should go ahead.

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