15 May 2008

IMPACT sees Benchmarking "dead in the Water"

IMPACT, Ireland's largest public service union, may reject any new national pay agreement unless the 'Benchmarking' pay determination system is radically reformed. Speaking at the IMPACT conference in Kilkenny, the union's General Secretary Peter McLoone (photo) said that as far as his members were concerned, 'Benchmarking' was "dead in the water", after not delivering pay increases to most of them.

McLoone said that voting on the next proposed pay agreement, which is currently negotiated, would be the first opportunity to vent the trade unions' frustration about what they saw as "a flawed mechanism".
But he warned if the outcome of the current pay negotiations included provision for another similar 'Benchmarking' process, he did not think his members would accept it. He also stressed that public servants should not and did not want to lead private sector pay in the labour market. The gap between higher and lower paid workers in the public service should not be getting wider and the same standards of fairness must be used to assess the pay of all, regardless of their place in the hierarchy.

Delegates at the conference endorsed a motion calling for a genuine review of the public service pay determination system to ensure that future pay comparisons are "made with good private sector employers", that genuine reforms of public services are rewarded and that individual pay anomalies can be addressed.

Earlier, Peter McLoone said that a new pay deal could well be achieved, but it must include progress on social objectives and public services. Despite big challenges "a deal is doable if all the social partners have enough ambition".

The Emerald Islander

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