The Government must accelerate pay restoration for post-2011 public service recruits on 10% lower pay rates by making funding available in October's budget, according to the Forsa trade union.

The current public service pay agreement - the Public Service Stability Agreement - rules out cash restoration for newer entrants before it expires at the end of 2020, though it does provide for a review.

However, if the Government were to accede to union demands, it would see newer recruits receiving restoration up to two years ahead of schedule, but would have significant budgetary implications. 

The Government recently confirmed that over 60,000 of the State's 300,000 strong workforce – one-in-five - are now on the lower rates of pay - and that it would cost €200 million a year to fully restore pay equality.

Addressing Forsa's Civil Service Division conference in Killarney, the union’s General Secretary Tom Geraghty said unions could not wait until after 2020 to resolve something so fundamentally unfair - adding that this would require funds to be allocated in October's budget.

There has been mounting anger among trade unions about the failure to resolve the two-tier pay structure.

Mr Geraghty told the 700 Forsa delegates that the campaign for pay equality had been seen exclusively as an issue for teachers, but did not belong to one group - as every union had had a substantial number of members affected by the 2010 Government decision to unilaterally reduce the pay of new recruits by 10%.

Mr Geraghty said public service union negotiators had spent a substantial amount of time in last year's pay negotiations trying to deal with this, but ran into the considerable barrier of cost.

He said that while it was correct to say that no monies had been allocated to resolve the issue in 2018, he believed that Ireland's strengthening economic and exchequer recovery means that it should be possible to start funding it next year, rather than delaying until 2020 and the post-PSSA period.

He said they should not be apologetic for trying to address the grievance.

Mr Geraghty also acknowledged the anger and resentment among civil servants about the additional unpaid 27 minutes per day imposed on them during the economic crisis, and which has not been reversed.

He said no issue had taken up as much time at the PSSA negotiations - but said he would not make promises he could not keep that the hours would revert to the pre-crisis 6 hour 57 minute day.