Tuesday, 12 November 2002
Dáil Eireann Debate
119. Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Finance the Government's views on the final report of the Public Service Benchmarking Body; if the Government intends to implement the recommendations of the body; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21301/02]
The Public Service Benchmarking Body was established as an independent body in July 2000 under the terms of the PPF to examine public service pay and jobs by comparison with the private sector. The body reported in June 2002 and recommended varying level of pay increases for the grades examined.
It was agreed, as part of the adjustment to the PPF, that there would be discussions about the implementation of the report and also that one quarter of any increases recommended would be paid retrospectively from 1 December 2001. Talks commenced in July 2002 between the employers and unions about the implementation of the report and are continuing in the context of negotiations on arrangements to follow the PPF.
The cost of implementing the recommendations of the report is estimated to be €1.1 billion in a full year. Account will have to be taken of the impact this will have on the public finances in the light of the Government's commitment to keep them close to balance or in surplus. As I have indicated previously, there is a relationship between any new general round that might be agreed under a new programme and the benchmarking payments and this must be considered in the context of the budgetary pressures facing us.
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