The Government is being urged to postpone the public sector pay talks until after the election to allow the new administration to negotiate without election pressure.
The Haddington Road Agreement does not end until July 2016, which ISME says gives sufficient time for a new administration to do the negotiations.
The Association warned that a government dependent on public sector votes is “not in a good position” to negotiate in a pre-election year and advised postponement until after the election.
According to ISME CEO, Mark Fielding, “Holding pay negotiations in less than 10 months from an election is only going to favour one side, the trade unions, and should not be attempted. In addition, the minister responsible, represents the junior partner in government, struggling in the polls, which is not ideal. Any outcome will be seen as a return to auction politics. A new Government would not be hampered by the pressures of an impending election and be in a better position to negotiate an outcome more favourable to the economy at large”.
ISME has already called on the Government to introduce a Pay Commission, chaired by an international expert, toadjudicate on the level of remuneration in the public sector.
“A postponement of talks could even allow for the introduction of such a commission whereby pay-setting would be removed from the political arena and adjudicated on fairly and transparently, taking into account the international comparisons,” said Mr. Fielding.