The National Executive Council of SIPTU has recommended the proposals for public service pay and reform which emerged following weeks of negotiations at the Labour Relations Commission. The Haddington Road Agreement sets out details of new pay and working conditions across the health, local authority, education and state agency sectors of the public service, which if agreed by trade union members, will come into effect until 2016 from 1st July next. A ballot of SIPTU members in the public service will commence on Wednesday 29th May and continue for three weeks until 19th June. A document explaining the proposals and containing the complete Haddington Road Agreement published by the LRC will be circulated to the 65,000 members of union employed in the public service. Following a lengthy meeting on Thursday 23rd May, the NEC decided to recommend the proposals on the basis that they preserve the protections against compulsory redundancy, outsourcing and redeployment in excess of 45 kilometres contained in the original Croke Park Agreement while providing a security of income during a continuing period of economic uncertainty. A new centralised agreement would also maintain the entitlement of public service workers to a say in the reform process, the NEC argued. While they involve pain through loss of income and increased working hours for many members in the public service the NEC believes that, at this time, tens of thousands of lower paid workers, in particular, are best served by supporting the proposals. “They optimise the potential for generating savings through progressive measures such as the replacement of agency staff with directly employed workers. Meanwhile, they address key concerns in relation to premium pay and overtime rates as well as the organisation of working time for members on less than €65,000 per annum, to the greatest possible degree. Simultaneously they provide for the payment of increments and clarity as to when temporarily reduced pay rates will be reinstated for those who are paid between €65,000 and €105,000 per annum,” the NEC said. It warned that any attempt by the Government to legislate to effect cuts unilaterally in the event of rejection of the proposals would lead immediately to a ballot for industrial action and for strike action by the union.