Minister hints at pay increases for public sector workers
The Minister for Jobs has pledged there will be a "pay recovery" in the public sector.
Minister Richard Bruton said that the Government was entering the talks on public sector pay with an open mind.
His comments come after SIPTU President Jack O'Connor said over the weekend that he expects pay rises in the public sector as unions prepare to sit down with the Government in May.
Mr Bruton acknowledged that they would be looking at a "pay recovery" in the public sector, but said that it will depend on how much money is available.
He emphasised that the Government is under tight spending constraints and pay recovery in the public sector will be affected by that.
"At the end of the Haddington Road Agreement, when that comes to an end, the negotiations are now starting as to what may happen," he said.
"The Government aren't entering these negotiations ruling out any increase.
"We have in the Haddington Road (Agreement) recognised that there was scope when the economy recovered for some restoration in pay. The issue will be to what degree that is affordable and deliverable."
The Haddington Road Agreement remains in place until July 2016 and, as part of that deal, pay is frozen until the end of this year.
The Government's spring statement is expected to include an invitation to unions to enter talks on public sector pay.
IBEC has warned that pay hikes could only be given by employers who could afford it.