The report provides information and insight into the labour market and management of pay and related issues. It addresses:

  • the 2018 economic and labour market context;
  • pay strategy and pay claims;
  • context and preparation for pay negotiations;
  • handling the negotiation process;
  • avenues to resolve disputes.

HR has a key role in providing organisational leadership on the reward agenda and on the conduct of pay negotiations. This must be seen in the context of a tightening labour market, where the challenge of the attraction and retention of skills is a growing priority, impacting directly on organisations’ performance and adaptability for the future.

Managing labour cost competitiveness at both national and organisational level is essential to sustaining economic growth in Ireland. It needs to be approached in a responsible manner, recognising the importance of the employee voice and encouraging internal transparency and equity on reward. Organisations should also have regard to the effect of their actions on others and the need to balance employee contribution and well-being with pay restraint and moderation. Constructive discussions must recognise the challenges facing the organisation but find a careful balance between what is affordable and sustainable with the needs of employees.

This guide outlines the main issues to be considered by organisations in the preparation for and management of discussions and negotiations on pay. In the current environment, each organisation has to decide its own pay strategy and each case will very much depend on its commercial and competitive position. Many organisations are likely to be in a position to countenance modest pay movements in the period ahead, with attracting and retaining talent a central driver.

The conduct of local level discussions on pay and reward is now more commonplace. As employment levels continue to increase and the labour market tightens, pressures have emerged on pay. HR professionals need to be able to skilfully manage the process of preparing for and conducting negotiations and related discussions, and this guide will be a supporting tool. Whilst the guide will have particular relevance for those in unionised employments, the wider messaging, labour market insights and approach to considering pay issues, has relevance for all organisations.

Thanks to our partners Stratis Consulting who prepared these Guidelines on the conduct of pay negotiations in Ireland for CIPD Ireland. This is particularly relevant at this time when sourcing employees (CIPD/IRN 2018 Private sector pay survey) is driving the pay agenda in many organisations more than concerns such as Brexit.

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