2024-2026 Public Sector Pay Agreement FAQs

These FAQs were developed by the union in concert with the Public Services Committee of the ICTU and will provide you with valuable insights to consider as you form your opinions on the implications of the proposals.

The INTO will provide additional detailed information to every member before the balloting process, which will take place from 4-14 March inclusive. We will regularly update our website and inform members on the proposed agreement through our various communications channels in the next month.

Your questions answered

If the agreement is ratified by the majority of members of public sector unions affiliated to ICTU, following their ballots, the agreement would cover the period from 1 January 2024 to 30 June 2026.
The union’s elected Central Executive Committee gave detailed consideration to the proposals and decided to recommend acceptance of the proposed new public service deal to members.

INTO members will ultimately decide whether or not the union will back the new agreement. This will be done through a national ballot from 4-14 March inclusive.

The proposed Public Sector Pay adjustments for the period 1 January 2024 to 30 June 2026 are as follows:
2024
• A general round increase in annualised basic salary for all public servants of 2.25% or €1,125, whichever is greater, from 1 January 2024
• A general round increase in annualised basic salary for all public servants of 1% on 1 June 2024
• A general round increase in annualised basic salary for all public servants of 1% or €500, whichever is greater, on 1 October 2024.
2025
• A general round increase in annualised basic salary for all public servants of 2% or €1,000, whichever is greater, on 1 March 2025
• A general round increase in annualised basic salary for all public servants of 1% on 1 August 2025
2026
• A general round increase in annualised basic salary for all public servants of 1% or €500, whichever is greater, on 1 February 2026
• A general round increase in annualised basic salary for all public servants of 1% on 1 June 2026.

The pay proposals are estimated to be worth up to 10.75% for a new entrant teacher. This is because the flat-rate elements of the pay deal are worth more to public servants earning below €50,000 per annum.

For INTO members earning €50,000 or more per annum the salary increases accrue to 9.62% by 1 June 2026.
If the proposed agreement is accepted, unions will not be able to lodge any ‘cost-increasing’ claims for improvements in pay or conditions during the lifetime of the agreement. However, there are specific provisions for local bargaining and small claims may be processed.

A local bargaining clause is different to the sectoral bargaining arrangements that were included in Building Momentum. Local bargaining terms included in the agreement would allow trade unions to negotiate up to an additional 3% of pay costs, inclusive of allowances, for particular grades, groups or categories of employee.

Detailed arrangements for local bargaining are to be agreed by the 30th of June this year. Local negotiations could then take place between July 2024 and June 2025. To the greatest extent possible agreements would be secured through direct negotiations.

This process will provide opportunities for specific groups, grades and categories to deal with issues of particular concern, including structural changes, and to have those addressed through the additional 3% secured under the terms of the new agreement.

While 1% is payable of 1 September 2025, the remaining balance of 2% will be due to be implemented during the term of the next successor agreement. The local bargaining fund for INTO members is circa €100 million of which €33 million would be applied from 1 September 2025.

Implementation of adjustments will be on a phased basis. The first instalment, equivalent to 1% of the basic pay cost, will be implemented on 1 September 2025 and the remaining 2% will fall to be addressed in any successor pay agreement.

1% of the total primary payroll (€33 million) can be used to address a number of claims for primary teachers, with a further 2% (€67 million) committed for the same purpose in the following agreement, which would commence on 1 July 2026.

Issues aimed at standardising certain terms and conditions across grades and sectors of the public service will be excluded from local bargaining, including: overtime rates; weekly hours of attendance; sick leave entitlements; and pension arrangements.

The INTO will consult with members regarding their priorities for local bargaining in April and May and we will liaise with fellow education unions.

Following these consultations the CEC will decide in June which claims to lodge in July 2024.

Negotiations with DE concerning INTO claims will take place between July 2024 and June 2025. The parties will endeavour, to the greatest extent possible, to reach agreement through direct negotiation.

Where agreement cannot be reached and local engagement has been fully exhausted, the matters of disagreement will proceed to conciliation at the Teachers’ Conciliation Council.

DE will be required to verify with DPENDPR the costings and policy impacts of INTO claims being agreed to progress during the lifetime of the proposed new agreement prior to the first payment date for local bargaining  of 1 September 2025.

The increases will apply to all pensionable allowances.
If the proposed agreement is accepted, pay adjustments will be delivered through revised pay scales. Part-time workers and others who don’t work full-time hours will get pro-rata adjustments based on the number of hours they work.
The change agenda in this agreement is an extension of the requirements for teachers in the primary sector to cooperate with current initiatives in primary and special education and includes union engagement on some new policy areas.

An appendix on the education reform agenda includes:
• Primary Curriculum change.
• Strategies – Literacy and Numeracy; Digital, STEM, Modern Foreign Language; Gaeltacht education.
• Policies – Education for Sustainable Development, Cineáltas Anti-Bullying Plan.
• Engagement between union officials and the Department of Education on the review of the EPSEN Act and on the outcome of policy advice on Inclusive Education.

Going into the negotiations the union side had a clear set of priorities agreed by the Public Services Committee of ICTU on 27 September 2023:

  • that any new agreement would address the rising cost of living, especially for low-to middle- earners,
  • that it would contain provisions to allow for the normalisation of industrial relations,
  • that it would contain a measure to stabilise the agreement through the inclusion of a local bargaining clause, and
  • that proposals for future proofing public services would be considered.

The 19 ICTU unions, all of whose members are still obliged to do Croke Park hours, did not include the removal of these hours as a central aspect of the framework for negotiations. However, the INTO does intend to engage with the Department of Education to seek a more flexible approach to the use of these hours.

Every public service agreement has included restrictions on industrial action on matters covered by the agreement, and this agreement is no exception. The agreement sets out a simplified dispute resolution process, compared to the previous Building Momentum agreement, including an ‘industrial peace’ clause.
Going into the negotiations the union side had a clear set of priorities agreed by the Public Services Committee of ICTU on 27 September 2023:

• that any new agreement would address the rising cost of living, especially for low-to middle- earners,
• that it would contain provisions to allow for the normalisation of industrial relations,
• that it would contain a measure to stabilise the agreement through the inclusion of a local bargaining clause, and
• that proposals for future proofing public services would be considered.

The 19 ICTU unions, all of whose members are still obliged to do Croke Park hours, did not include the removal of these hours as a central aspect of the framework for negotiations. However, the INTO does intend to engage with the Department of Education to seek a more flexible approach to the use of these hours.

Like the previous agreement, Building Momentum, the proposed new agreement contains the same provision to review the terms of the agreement “where the underlying assumptions of the agreement need to be revisited.” This provision, for example, enabled unions to seek review of Building Momentum in 2022 because of high and sustained inflation, which was not anticipated when that agreement was negotiated in 2020.
The negotiators secured a commitment that the pay increases would be applied to public service pensions for the duration of the agreement. This means that pension payments will be adjusted in line with pay adjustments for serving staff.
The Building Momentum agreement expired on 31 December 2023. If the proposed new agreement is rejected by the majority of affiliate unions, there will continue to be no public service agreement in place

Union negotiators advised affiliate unions last month that the pay terms of the new agreement represented the “absolute maximum achievable” through negotiations at this time, and are the outcome of a challenging negotiations process. Union negotiators don’t believe it would be possible to achieve a better outcome by agreement.

In the event of a rejection of the proposals, consideration would need to be given to a campaign of industrial action aimed at securing better terms.

The 19 affiliate unions have commenced preparations for their ballots after the terms of the new agreement were considered by each union’s national executive. The Public Services Committee will meet on the 25 March to aggregate the results of all ballots , after which the ICTU Public Services Committee will accept or reject the package on the basis of aggregated union ballot results.

The ICTU Public Service Committee (PSC) represents all 19 ICTU-affiliated unions with members in the civil and public service. It decides through a weighted aggregate of the outcomes of all the union ballots, which means the voting strength of each union is determined by the number of members it has in the civil and public service.

Should the proposed agreement be ratified on 25 March it would be anticipated that the first payment of 2.25% or €1125 (whichever is greater)

would be made to primary teachers in late April or early May 2024 backdated to 1 January 2024.

Read the full text of the proposed agreement.

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