Thursday, 19 January 2023
Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
Public Sector Pay
150. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Dáil Éireann passing a motion by the Labour Party on 12 October 2022 in support of pay increases for community and voluntary sector workers, if he and his Department will support any moves by the Department of Health, the Department of Social Protection and other relevant Departments to deliver on the commitments listed in the motion; if he will support any moves in those Departments to provide for a standing forum and mechanism for collective bargaining on pay and conditions with recognised trade unions in the relevant sectors; if his Department has engaged with trade unions on this general matter since the passing of this motion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2207/23]
Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the important work carried out by staff in these organisations and the vital contribution of the Community and Voluntary (C&V) sector. By way of general information, the Deputy may be aware that employees in these organisations are not Public Servants and do not fall under the remit of my Department.
The relevant legislation is clear on the range of responsibilities of the relevant departments and agencies. For information on engagement with the relevant trade unions following the 12 October 2022 motion the Deputy has referred to, I would therefore refer the Deputy to the following departments:
- Section 39 of the Health Act 2004 provides the responsibilities of the HSE and Department of Health,
- Section 10 of the Housing Act 1988 provides the responsibilities of the Department of Housing,
- Section 56 of the Child and Family Agency Act 2013 provides the responsibilities of TUSLA and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, and
- Section 359A of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 sets out the range of responsibilities of the Department of Social Protection.
The organisations in question are private sector organisations. Accordingly, the Terms and Conditions of their employees are matters in the first instance between the individual private sector employer, the employee and their employee representatives.
As noted by my colleague the Minister for Health in the debate on 12 October 2022, in the debate the Deputy has referred to, a process involving the Department of Health, the HSE and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, ICTU, was initiated at the Workplace Relations Commission, WRC, in 2019.
In that debate, the Minister for Health noted that it was considered that this process could provide a template of engagement which could be applied to other organisations in the Community and Voluntary (C&V) Sector. As further noted by Minister Donnelly at that time, he considered that a process along these lines could play a useful role in providing solutions to the current pay-related issues that have been raised by organisations in the sector.
It will be for the individual, relevant Departments to decide on how they wish to engage with C&V organisations and/or trade unions on these matters. Engagement between my Department and the relevant Departments referred to by the Deputy will continue in the normal course.
Any follow up questions would need to be directed to the Minister for Health, or in respect of other Community and Voluntary organisations to the relevant Minister.