The Garda Representative Association is to seek a meeting with Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe over its exclusion from the pay negotiations that have delivered an accelerated pay rise of €1000 for 250,000 public servants from 1 April.

The pay talks were held to address the "anomalies" that arose after the Labour Court recommended a pay deal for gardaí  totalling €50m the evening before a threatened garda strike in November.

That garda deal, which began on 1 January is worth an average of €4,000 a year for each member of the force - but they will not benefit from the additional €1,000 increase beginning in April.

In today's letter to the GRA central executive council, General Secretary Pat Ennis says that as an integral part of the wider public service, gardaí must welcome that fellow workers in other services are seeing their pay restored at an accelerated rate "following on from the garda industrial relations activity".

He says the GRA is mindful that all hard-pressed public servants have genuine grievances towards the Government income policy and the reneging on contracted wages and conditions of employment.

However, he cautions that it is important as they approach the next stages of pay determination, that the GRA does not allow the Government to "divide and conquer" as he claims they did with the wider trade union movement at the start of the economic crisis.

The garda Labour Court recommendation included a commitment that in future, gardaí would have the same industrial rights as other public servants, including access to the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court.

Mr Ennis says that he is writing to Mr Donohoe seeking an urgent meeting to explain why gardaí were not involved in the recent anomaly talks. 

He says the GRA will seek to impress upon the Government the adverse ramifications that the deliberate exclusion of Association may have towards generating agreement and mobilising consent in the future.

Mr Ennis notes that the Labour Court, an "independent forum", had recommended urgent corrective measures to garda pay as a result of what he calls "Government intransigence towards our legitimate assertions."

He also cites the the recent Horgan review, which recommended that gardaí should be entitled to full trade union status and collective bargaining with their employer.

Public service unions back early €1,000 pay restoration

It comes as public service unions have backed Government proposals to bring forward a €1,000 pay rise for staff earning under €65,000 to 1 April.

Minister Donohoe today confirmed that the expected €120m cost will come from available public resources.

The increase had originally been due to be paid on 1 September under the Lansdowne Road Agreement, but the schedule was derailed when gardaí were awarded a €50m pay deal to avert threatened strike action.

The Public Services Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions noted that the deal was contingent on maintaining industrial peace.

The PSC also said that while it recognised the value of the payment, it has advised the management side that outstanding issues will be pursued in the further talks to take place following the initial report of the Public Service Pay Commission, which is now expected to be delivered in April.

Apart from gardaí, members of the Association of Secondary Teachers will not receive the payment as they have rejected the LRA.

In all, almost 300,000 public servants are set to receive the €1,000 pay rise.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, ASTI President Ed Byrne said that the bringing forward of a payment of €1,000 to the country's public servants will not have a significant impact on the ASTI ballot. 

He said that it will mean, after taxes, an estimated €150 loss to its members. 

Mr Byrne said: "If it's extra into your pay packet after PAYE, PRSI, pension levy and USC it probably means a loss of €150 to our members.

"The bringing forward of that money probably won't have any great significance on the ballot. It's not like they got a garda type deal; it was well flagged since the garda got their deal that they were going to do this."

He said the ASTI is recommending to its members a rejection of the Lansdowne Road Agreement because it does not bring about equal pay for equal work and ties in the contentious junior cycle.

Earlier, Mr Donohoe said he was  bringing a proposal on public sector pay to this morning's Cabinet meeting.

Other unions were furious - particularly as gardaí had rejected the Lansdowne deal - so the Government agreed to hold talks to address what it called anomalies arising from the garda recommendation.