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Guidelines on the conduct of pay negotiations in Ireland prepared for CIPD Ireland

17 April 2018

This report, published today by CIPD Ireland in partnership with Stratis Consulting, provides guidance on the conduct of pay negotiations in Ireland. We were delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with CIPD Ireland, the professional body for HR and people development, and in working closely with Mary Connaughton, Director, CIPD Ireland to have prepared these Guidelines on the conduct of pay negotiations in Ireland for their members. This is particularly relevant at this time when there are mounting pressures on organisations when addressing their pay agenda. The report provides important information and insights into the labour market, the management of pay and related issues and on the conduct of negotiations. 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 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.

The 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 depend on its commercial and competitive position.

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.

If you would like to discuss any particular issue arising for your organisation with Stratis, please do not hesitate to get in touch by email at

Brendan McGinty.

Managing Partner

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