Public sector unions are ramping up plans for industrial action over wages

worker on strike

Unions are to ramp up preparations for industrial action ballots after ICTU’s Public Services Committee (PSC) agreed on Wednesday to mount a coordinated union campaign on public service pay. The PSC is made up of unions representing over 90% of Ireland’s public servants.

Speaking after the PSC meeting, its chairperson Kevin Callinan said unions were united in their resolution to achieve a credible public service pay offer for 2021-2022.

“Inflation has risen from 5.6% to over 9.% in the four months since we triggered the review clause of the current public service pay deal, Building Momentum. Workers across the economy, are bearing the full brunt of large and sustained increases in the cost of home heating, fuel, food, housing, childcare, and many other essentials,” he said.

Mr Callinan told the meeting that comments by public expenditure minister Michael McGrath on RTÉ radio did not fully tally with what unions had been told by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), which has been facilitating their engagement with Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) officials.


In June, the Government offered an additional increase of just 2.5% for the 2021-2022 period of the current agreement. Unions said this was “clearly inadequate when inflation now seems likely to be over 10% in that period.”

The PSC also says the Government is breaching Building Momentum by failing to conclude a review of its pay terms. Earlier this month (15th July), union negotiators said that, in face of the delays, they had concluded that the Government does not intend to conclude the review of Building Momentum. On this basis, they told the WRC they were no longer in a position to continue discussions on an extension of Building Momentum, to cover pay in 2023, until the review of Building Momentum is satisfactorily concluded.