Transport Minister Says Public Sector Pay Increases 'Should Be Deferred'

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has said that at a time when services for the public are being cut, public sector pay increments should be deferred.

While Mr Varadkar acknowledged that increments were protected under the Croke Park Agreement, he said deferring them for a year would save up to €200m.

He noted that under the Agreement, core pay would not be touched, but also said there would be no pay increases - so increments were "a kind of a grey area in that sense".

However, he said it was very hard to justify giving anyone any kind of pay increase in the year ahead at a time when services were being cut.

The minister said a decision on increments would be the kind of judgement call the Government would have to make.

The move comes after it emerged that Minister for Health James Reilly had raised the possibility of cutting overtime and premium payments in the health service in a bid to reduce the overspend, which had already hit €200m at the end of April.

He has come under pressure from Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform Brendan Howlin to address the overspend.

A spokesperson for IMPACT said increments are not a grey area and any move to decrease, suspend or defer them would be a de facto pay cut, which would mainly affect lower paid workers.

The union said any change in increments disproportionately affects those on lower grades, while higher grades remain almost completely unaffected.


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