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Employment Relations

Public service may do local pay deals

Posted on November 12, 2019 by Miriam Ahern

The next public-service pay agreement in 2020 may include some element of local pay bargaining  rather than simply involving an across-the-board arrangement.

A confidential memo to Cabinet in mid-October from  Minister for Public Expenditure,  Paschal Donohoe said preliminary talks with public-service trade unions about a successor to the current agreement had looked at a process involving a local bargaining component.

According to  a report in The Irish Times, it is understood that the minister maintained that a one-size-fits-all approach – the format for all of the public-service agreements since the Croke Park pay-cuts agreement in 2010  – may not be backed by all on the trade union side. Traditionally all teachers, nurses, engineers, gardai, doctors and other public servants have common pay-scales throughout the state.

The current public-service agreement is scheduled to expire at the end of 2020 and full-scale talks on a successor deal would have to commence by  April or May 2020 to allow for public service trades unions to ballot their members on the terms.

Pressures in the health sector, such as the nurses strikes earlier in 2019, and different regional housing costs are driving calls for differentiated pay scales.

Battle for migrants key to sustained growth

Posted on July 31, 2019 by Gerald Flynn

IRELAND will become more dependent on immigrant workers over the next few years but most will probably come from outside the European Union according to the Central Bank.
In a new study on labour market demands and net migration trends, the bank’s economists note that recent higher-skilled workers have been coming from southern European states like Spain, Italy and Croatia. Prior to the economic crash and asset bubble, most migrants to Ireland came from the newer EU states like Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.

Net inward migration will be the most important source of new employees if the economy continues to grow at the rates seen over the past number of years, according to the study.

It adds that inward migration will be critical in ensuring that growth is not impeded by labour or skill shortages.

However, the Central Bank of Ireland study warns the Republic is unlikely to see levels of migration – up to 100,000 a year – similar to those witnessed in the mid-2000s and will face a battle with other countries to secure talent. Furthermore, employers won’t benefit from paying lower wages to migrants as many did during the Celtic Tiger years especially in construction and agriculture jobs.

The accession of 10 eastern European countries to the EU between 2004 and 2007 led to a sharp spike in the number of migrants in the Republic. That helped sustain growth during the tail-end of the boom. But while EU accession countries made up nearly 60% of recently-arrived migrants in employment during those years, they count for just one-in-four new migrants currently.


Council employees to lose one-hour banking breaks

Posted on April 26, 2015 by administrator

Thousands of workers in Dublin City Council are due to lose one of the last of their special perks next week. No longer with clerks, administrators, drivers, engineers, rent collectors and managers be allowed an extra one hour time-off to go to the bank.

In an era of ATM lodgement and withdrawal machines in corner shops, on-line banking by mobile phone and iPad, the excuse that it takes an hour to check their account or make a transaction no longer seems justified.

The days of “I’m just nipping out to the bank” to cover an hour’s paid break are coming to an end.

Three years ago council staff lost their special day’s leave to celebrate the King’s Birthday and for Empire Day even though Ireland had gained independence from the United Kingdom 90 years earlier. Likewise council staff around the country lost their local privilege days to attend race meetings or music festivals.

The practice of having a ‘banking hour’ for staff at Dublin City Council (DCC) is to end in May, as the Labour Court has found there is “no longer justification” for it to continue.

This banking -time was given to DCC staff, who are members of SIPTU and IMPACT unions, to allow them to use banking facilities.

However, the Council has said that such a practice is now unnecessary and inappropriate “given the wide range of available banking service to clients.”

SIPTU & IMPACT stated at a recent Labour Court hearing that the banking -hour was brought in when salary payments were to be made by Paypath/electronic funds transfer, The claimed that the hour had “become an established condition of employment.”

The City Council argued that the banking time practice has been dropped across most of the public service and without any compensation for its withdrawal.

The Labour Court noted that it was not unreasonable for the council to seek the removal of the banking-hour in light of the “significant and material changes in banking services and practices since bank-time was first introduced.”

As its original intent was for the hour to be taken during working -time, “its elimination could not be fairly characterised as involving an extension of the working week for those affected by the proposal”, said the Labour Court’s chairman, Kevin Duffy.