Dáil Éireann - Volume 179 - 02 March, 1960
Committee on Finance - Vote 70—Remuneration
Dr. Ryan Dr. Ryan
Dr. Ryan: I move:
That a sum not exceeding £277,000 be granted to defray the charges which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1960, for Remuneration of Civil Servants.
As Deputies are aware, a general movement of wages increases commonly known as “the seventh round” has taken place since the middle of 1959. At the end of October last a claim was made by civil servants under the conciliation and arbitration scheme. Following discussions agreement was reached on increases which were in line with the general trend of outside pay. These increases were:—
On the portion of 1948 basic pay up to £250 a year the existing addition of 37½% was raised to 49%.
On the portion of 1948 basic pay above £250 a year the existing addition of 22½% was raised to 29%.
The flat additions to pay, based on the 10/- a week formula, which were granted to arbitrable groups in the Civil Service as from 1st April, 1958, were also continued.
Following representations from the Association of Higher Civil Servants, it was decided to extend the percentage and flat additions on the same basis to officers above the salary limit for arbitration. It is my intention to have these additions consolidated so that pay rates will be expressed in inclusive terms.
To meet the cost of this pay revision, provision of the order of £1.1 million will be necessary in a full year. For the 3½ months of the current financial year to which it applies, the additional sum required is estimated at £277,000, allowing for available savings.
One Additional Estimate has been introduced, that is, for primary teachers and another will be, if it has not already been, introduced for the Army. We are not yet in a position to  say what may happen in regard to the vocational teachers, the secondary teachers or the Civic Guards. Deputies who are here to-day heard the Minister say that the Guards' case has gone to arbitration. We do not know what the result of that may be. The vocational teachers are also applying for arbitration and we have not heard any decision as to whether the secondary teachers will agree to conciliation or go to arbitration.
These three groups remain and I am sure Deputies will be asking me what will be the total amount of these increases. If the rate of increase in respect of these cases not already decided should work out at about the same as that of the civil servants, the total liability on the Exchequer will be about £2.4 million.
Mr. Sweetman Mr. Sweetman
Mr. Sweetman: As far as I can follow the Minister, this Additional Estimate is necessary entirely as a result of the agreement reached at conciliation level under the Civil Service arbitration machinery. Of course, the necessity for any such claim by the Civil Service arose out of the policy that was deliberately adopted by the Minister and by the Government. It is that policy which is responsible for the increase of £2.4 million to which the Minister has just referred. It is a matter of some consideration therefore to see not merely in relation to Government services as a whole but in relation to the nation as a whole, what the total cost will be finally, to work out in terms of money all the results of the action taken by the Government immediately after they came into office.
As I understand the Minister the total cost of this increase in a full year is £1.1 million, and the sum of £277,000 for the period from 15th December last, makes it appear that there is a very small saving indeed. The amount involved looks more or less the proportion, on a day-to-day basis, of the total cost for a full year. I understood from the Minister that we were getting, and going to get, substantial staff savings. The Minister expanded considerably on that theme in one of his Budget speeches. It  seems from this figures that the staff saving that was promised has not yet become a reality and I should like to hear from the Minister some indication of what progress has been made towards the saving that he promised us then.
Sir Anthony Esmonde Sir Anthony Esmonde
Sir Anthony Esmonde: So far as I could understand, this Estimate relates to the increases for civil servants, both for pay and pensions. There is a considerable sum of money involved and yet there is one section of the community who have not yet had their grievances redressed. It seems to me that a very small amount would cover the people to whom I refer—the teachers who retired prior to 1950. I think the Minister mentioned that the Conciliation Board was sitting in relation to teachers' conditions, pay and pensions. Would the Department or the Government review the outstanding claims of those people who retired prior to 1950? Very few of them remain and it would cost the State a very small sum to satisfy them in relation to the amount we are now asked to vote.
Dr. Ryan Dr. Ryan
Dr. Ryan: In regard to the question asked by Deputy Sweetman, I did say in the Budget of 1957 that I expected to make a saving of £250,000 on the Civil Service, a saving which was actually made in that year as the Appropriation Accounts will show. But on the 1st April, 1958, the beginning of the next financial year, a pay increase was given to civil servants, a flat 10/- per week increase. That, of course, made it impossible to have a further saving and will mean a very much bigger addition to the civil servants' pay. I do not think we could possibly expect a net saving. The Deputy's question, however, has suggested it to my mind to analyse the numbers and so on since 1957 to see if any attempt at saving has been made since 1958, apart from the increased pay.
The Deputy, naturally, said this increase was due to Government action. Our experience is that the cost of living remained fairly constant from 1923 to 1938 or 1939, when the war came. Since the war there has been a  continuous increase and, as a matter of fact, some small portion of this may be attributed to an increase in the cost of living between the end of 1955 and the time of the change of Government. I am not in a position to say what that proportion is at the moment but I could, I suppose, give some indication of it if the figures were examined.
The second round of wages to which I referred made it obligatory on the Government, I would say, to consider an increase of pay for civil servants and everybody paid from the Exchequer. It can be argued that they got in or about what was going to other people. Deputies will be well aware that the civil servants have fairly able people to represent them, like everybody else, and a settlement could not have been reached unless they were satisfied that they got a fair increase compared with what was going generally.
Personally, I was very glad that we were able to settle the matter by conciliation because we are likely to get a very much better response from the Civil Service through conciliation than through arbitration. I was, therefore, very anxious to settle the matter by conciliation if at all possible and we succeeded in doing so.
Vote put and agreed to.
Dáil Éireann 179 Committee on Finance Vote 70—Remuneration