The current agreement, in force since 2005, is Towards 2016 (Q2016), which are past agreements: the process was launched in 1987, after a period of high inflation and economic growth that led to an increase in emigration and public borrowing and unsustainable public debt. The strike and wage moderation were important outcomes of the agreements, which was considered an important contribution to the „Celtic Tiger“ phenomenon. Previously, negotiations had taken place at the local level since 1981; In the previous decade, national employer-union agreements and „national agreements“ were the norm, but were increasingly under pressure. Social partnership (Irish: Pairtíocht sóisialta) is the term used for tripartite national wage agreements concluded every three years in Ireland. At the end of December 2009, IBEC, the main employers` organisation, formally withdrew from the terms of the transition agreement after not agreeing with iCTU on a suspension of wage conditions. It says that „we are entering a phase of negotiation at the company level in unionized jobs.“ [Industrial Relations News, Issue 1, January 2010, page 3]. The salary conditions of the second stage, called the „transitional agreement“, collapsed at the end of 2009, when the government prescribed income cuts of between 5% and 8% for some 315,000 civil servants in its budget. Belated attempts by the ICTU Civil Service Commission to provide efficiency and flexibility in public service work practices, coupled with a vague proposal for 12 days of unpaid leave, which all public servants were to take in 2010, could not enjoy political or public support or prevent income cuts. Employers and unions had already agreed on a national wage agreement that provides for wage increases of 10% over 27 months. The second stage of the „Towards 2016“ salary conditions was agreed in September 2008 and adopted by a vote of ICTU delegates by 305 votes in favour and 36 against in November.
Trade unions that had previously opposed or abstained from wage agreements have taken a much more favourable stance in the face of rapidly rising unemployment and deteriorating public finances. Unite, the UK-based grouping of ATGWU and Amicus unions, was the main opposition. While the program itself runs until 2016, the salary element lasts 27 months and provides for a cumulative increase of 10.38%. In the civil service, the increases that must be approved by the PVG are as follows: nine months earlier (March 2009), the Fianna Fáil/Greens coalition government had on the one hand levied a 5% „pension tax“ on civil service income in order to „compensate“ for defined benefit pensions by civil servants based on income. In June 2009, the government and IBEC failed to reach an agreement with the ICTU to change the transitional wage conditions to take into account the effects of an economic depression and consumer price deflation. At the beginning of September 2006, the unions voted by 242 votes to 84 on the adoption of the agreement with their main care unions (INO) and retailers (mandate) who decided not to participate in the vote. On the same day, the employers` union IBEC also announced its adoption of „Towards 2016“. With the publication of „Towards 2016“, negotiations on the national social partnership have been concluded. It is the first in a series of national social inclusion processes that will culminate this year with the publication of the National Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion Strategies, the next NAP/Inclusion 2006-2008 and the National Development Plan 2007-2013. . .