After 23 years of social partnership, Irish trade unions (ICTU) have entered the new decade severely weakened and trade union density has dropped to 31% from a 62% peak in the early 1980s that preceded the series of seven corporatist social pacts.  EU penetration is highly unbalanced, with a density of 80% in the public sector and about 20% in the private sector. Today, trade unionists are over 45 years old, married to children, born in Ireland with a university degree and work in semi-professional professions, particularly in the health, education or public administration sectors, as the traditional image of being vulnerable and low-skilled workers.  Click here for the online report “On the Road 2016,” which Prime Minister Bertie Ahern tentatively welcomed with the title “Toward 2016,” developed by the social partners after nearly five months of intense jateday negotiations. The agreement also allows for further calibration of performance in public services. The seventh social partnership contract entitled “Towards 2016” was concluded in June 2006 for a period of up to the beginning of 2008. These provide for cumulative wage increases, set at 10.4 hours over 27 months, with minor adjustments for those earning less than 400 euros per week. The Wages and Policies Pact also includes stronger enforcement measures to protect employment and meet established labour standards. Its social and social objectives are based on a relaxed social-democratic commitment of ten years to improve the delivery of social benefits and public services. The current agreement, in force since 2005, is for 2016 (T2016), which are agreements made: nine months earlier (March 2009), the coalition government of Fianna Féil/Greens had introduced a “pension levy” of 5% on public service income to “compensate” defined benefit pensions related to the incomes of public service employees. In June 2009, the government and IBEC failed to reach an agreement with icTU to change the conditions of transitional compensation to take into account the effects of economic depression and consumer price deflation.
While the program itself runs until 2016, the wage element lasts 27 months and forecasts a cumulative increase of 10.38%.