Building Momentum Review

The Public Services Committee of the ICTU invoked the Building Momentum review clause on 11th March, when inflation was 5.6%.  This was done in an effort to address the higher-than-expected inflation in both 2021 and 2022.  The Government eventually responded in May, when inflation had reached 7%.  Subsequent talks in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) ended without agreement on 17th June, by which time inflation had hit 7.8%.  Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) officials subsequently told the WRC that the Government needed more time to reflect on its position and four weeks later – with inflation at 9.1% - they are still reflecting.  Meanwhile, the Dáil has gone into recess and will not resume until 14th September, less than two weeks before the Budget.  The Government administration is now effectively winding down until mid-September, leaving low and middle-income public servants with the prospect of another two months of uncertainty.
On this basis, the ICTU have advised the WRC that we are 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.  If there is no extension in place before the current agreement expires at the end of December, we will have to submit pay claims for next year.
The Public Services Committee are recommending a coordinated Union campaign, supported by industrial action ballots, to achieve a credible pay offer for 2021-2022 for public servants who, in common with 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.  It has been recommended that Unions begin practical arrangements for balloting, to begin next month, pending a meeting of the Public Services Committee to coordinate the campaign.
You will recall that the pay talks ended without agreement in mid-June after the Government offered an additional increase of just 2.5% for the 2021-2022 period of the current agreement.  This is clearly inadequate when inflation now seems likely to be over 10% in that period.  IFUT will advise members of progress as it is made.