Government outlines financial pressures to unions

Friday 18 January 2013 12.37
The Government is seeking €1bn in savings
The Government is seeking €1bn in savings

Government negotiators have been briefing public service unions on the financial pressures facing the Government as they seek to conclude an extension of the Croke Park Agreement.

Management in each sector, including health, local authorities, justice, education, security, the civil service and State agencies, outlined to unions how much it costs to provide services.

They also outlined what percentage of payroll is accounted for by payments over and above core pay, such as overtime and premium payments.

Managers running the health service have told unions that the sector must deliver cuts of €420m over the next three years.

That amounts to over 40% of the €1bn total reduction in payroll sought by the Government.

About €150m of the reduction in the health service must be found in 2013, and 2,400 net jobs in health must be cut.

According to figures presented payroll for the health sector cost €7.1bn last year.

- Basic pay accounted for €4.6bn or 67% of the total pay bill
- Superannuation or pension payments cost €843m or 12% of the total outlay on pay
- €257m was spent on overtime - doctors received €166m and nurses were paid €43m
- The civil service and State agencies must slash their costs by €120m over three years, with €43m of savings coming this year
- Health workers earned €242m for working weekends and public holidays - 3% of the pay bill
- Allowances added €161m or 2% of the overall bill
- Night shift payments came to €97m - around 1% of total pay
- A further €85m was spent on on-call payments
- Locum or agency staff totalled €216m - with agency nursing costing €86m

Cuts in garda budget

An Garda Síochana will have to cut its pay bill by €60m over the next three years, according to documents given to the unions.

Up to €18.2m of those savings must be secured by December.

According to the documents, the garda pay bill in 2012 was almost €956m.

Garda spending for 2012:

- Basic pay came to €709.5m
- Shift payments accounted for €113m
- Non-shift payments totalled €75m
- €9m was spent on premium payments
- The overtime bill was €42m
- The civilian shift allowance came to €3m
- €1m went on non-public duty allowances and the reserve allowance was €900,000

Local Authorities

Local authorities will have to secure savings of at least €90m over the next three years over and above planned savings under the current Croke Park Agreement.

Around €27m of that will have to be found this year.

Total remuneration for the local government sector, which employs 28,344 employees nationwide, came to just under €1.25bn last year.

- Core pay accounted for almost €1.13bn
- Overtime added almost €56m
- Local government employees received a further €55.36m in allowances
- There were further additional payments totalling just over €5m under the category "other"
- Office staff, including management, clerical, administration, professional and technical staff, accounted for 55% of core pay, at €621m
- Outdoor staff, including general operatives, supervisory grades, craft workers and firefighters, accounted for 45% of core pay, at €508m

On the basis of these figures, core pay accounts for over 90% of the overall pay bill, with overtime and allowances making up 4.5% each, and "other" payments accounting for the remaining 0.4%.

Of the 28,344 employees in local authorities, there are 225 in managerial grades, 10,223 in clerical/administrative grades, 3,994 in professional and technical grades, 11,679 outdoor staff, 1,212 full-time firefighters, and 1,011 temporary or other staff.

The management presentation states that as local government accounts for almost 9% of the public service pay bill, the sector will have to find total savings of at least €90m.

Defence Forces

The defence sector will have to achieve payroll savings of €35m over the next three years.

Up to €10m of that will have to be delivered in 2013.

The defence sector accounts for 3.5% of the public sector pay bill.

Unions to consider position

Public service unions met this afternoon to assess the financial information they had been given and to plan their next move.

The Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland said secondary teachers will react very badly if supervision and substitution payments are hit under proposals for a new agreement.

ASTI General Secretary Pat King said as far as it was concerned, public servants and teachers had given more than sufficient to assist the State in its current needs, but they were willing to see what the Government had to say to them.

He said his members were angry that he was attending the talks at all and if the proposals were unacceptable he could predict that they would react very badly.

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