Byline: Petrina Vousden
THE Benchmarking body was established by the Government two years ago toexamine publicservice employees pay compared to similar levels in the privatesector.
And as agreement was reached with the public service unions on the terms ofreference and membership of the body, it is believed that the chairman, DanOKeeffe SC, was paid E2,000 a day when they met.
It is understood that one of the six ordinary members waived their fee but eachwas entitled to about E30,000 a year for the work involved.
The group has met 77 times since it was established in January 2006. Throughmedia adverts it invited people and organisa-tions to make submissions inwriting in May 2006.
Direct approaches were also made to unions and associations representing therelevant employers.
Among the groups that engaged directly with the body were the Irish Congress ofTrade Unions, the Irish Business Employers Confederation and the Irish Smalland Medium Enterprise association.
With the help of consultants, the body examined the pay and conditions of thepublic service grades it was charged with benchmarking and similar pay andreward structures in the private sector.
It also compared public service pensions to those in the private sector and hadits own consultant, Derek Burn, and its own pension advisers, Acuvest Ltd.
It commissioned analysis of the data collected as part of the NationalEmployment Survey 2003 which was published by the Irish Central StatisticsOffice in May 2006. Ernst and Young in association with Dr Anthony Murphy ofOxford University carried out the study.
The group carried out its own salary survey with the assistance of itsconsultants.
A total of 263 private sector companies participated in the survey, coveringabout 36,400 employees.
It looked closely at the full range of benefits available in the public serviceand at posts of similar size in the private sector. Pension arrangements,security of tenure, allowances, annual leave and working hours were allinvestigated.
They were asked to examine the pay and jobs of specified grades and makerecommendations.
A similar review took place between 2000 and 2002.
In a follow-up to written submissions to the body, a series of 41 oral hearingwere conducted between September 2006 and January 2007 and in July 2007 withthe relevant employers and unions. …