26/10/2016

Govt Accused Of Failing To Address Growing Industrial Relations Disputes

The government has been accused of failing to address the growing number of industrial relations disputes, by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.

Mr Adams made the accusation while speaking in the Dáil during Leader' Questions. He added that the next round of talks for a new public sector pay agreement should begin as soon as possible and that any new pay agreement must set out a clear timetable for a single pay scale for public workers and the restoration of allowances.

Teachta Adams said: "Over the next four weeks, citizens are facing the prospect of 12,500 Gardaí and 17,000 teachers engaging in strike action across the State. There is also a very real prospect of nurses and doctors engaging in industrial action in the near future as well.

"They are doing so not out of greed or selfishness, but because of very legitimate concerns about their pay and conditions. Their concerns are justifiably shared throughout the public sector, following seven years of pay cuts.

"The real prospect of school closures and communities without Gardaí is a sure sign that the government is failing to address the growing number of industrial relations disputes, to the detriment of the workers themselves and the public-at-large.

"What the vast majority of public servants want and deserve is the fair and timely unwinding of FEMPI cuts and pay restoration. We know that can’t be achieved overnight, but it can be time-lined through direct dialogue and the formation of a new pay agreement that offers a roadmap to pay restoration.

"What is required is meaningful dialogue which lays out a clear, sensible path to the provision of full pay restoration - and that must be one which prioritises those on low and middle incomes. Instead, the government is ducking and diving.

"The demands of teachers and Gardaí are not insurmountable. In our Alternative Budget proposals, Sinn Féin provided for the restoration of allowances for all post-2011 teachers and Gardaí - core demands of the ASTI and the GRA respectively.

"Pay equality for post-2011 entrants also needs to be put in place before the scheduled end of the Lansdowne Road Agreement. The government’s current stance that such a measure can only begin in two years’ time is not feasible. Kicking the can down the road is not going to solve the problem."

(MH/CD)

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