SIPTU representatives have today (Wednesday, 14th July) said that ‘blended working’ arrangements should be made available, where possible, to workers throughout the public service and state sector. The call follows the publication by the Government of its ‘Blended Working Policy Statement’ which facilitates civil service workers switching from pandemic-related remote working provisions to more long-term ‘blended working’ arrangements. SIPTU Deputy General Secretary, John King, said: “This is a welcome, albeit overdue, move from the Government and will go some way towards honouring the commitment in the Programme for Government for one-fifth of public sector workers to be working from home in 2021. Throughout the pandemic, our members in the state sector and public service found remote working challenging. However, many found the experience broadly positive and productive. “We need to now agree a fair, transparent and flexible framework for ‘blended working’ to be rolled out across the entire public service without delay. This kind of framework has the potential to increase productivity, enhance our members work-life balance, reduce traffic congestion and drive a more balanced economic recovery across the country.” He added: “For months, SIPTU representatives have been engaging with employers in the state and higher education sectors on new and innovative initiatives towards working that are now at an advanced stage. However, consistency is key. Many employers were waiting for direction from central government and the publication of this ‘Blended Working Policy Statement’ has finally given our representatives the opportunity to follow up on these issues and negotiate blended working policies. At the centre of these policies we will be seeking to place equity in access, proper worker protections and the provision of quality public services.”