Frontline staff 'not being singled out'
Frontline staff rallying against Government proposals to reduce premium payments last night
The country’s largest public service union, Impact, has said that arguments by frontline public servants that they are being singled out for excessive cuts are “wrong”.
In a bulletin to members today Impact said that management had sought cuts of €170 million from premium payments for working on Saturday, Sunday and in the evening but that this could be reduced through negotiation. .
Impact said that larger or equivalent sums were being targeted in other parts of the public service.
“It has emerged that over €350 million – more than a third of the additional €1 billion in pay and pension savings sought – is likely to come from those on higher pay, together with an accelerated reduction in public service headcount facilitated by extended working hours.”
“Virtually no ‘uniformed’ public servants will be affected by any adjustment in higher public service pay. “
Impact said other categories of staff in the public service were also facing cuts of the same order as the proposed cuts in premium pay .
“For example, if agreement can be reached, cuts in the education sector are likely to be similar to those in health. It is also likely that the amount of additional working time sought from clerical and administrative staff across the public service will be more than that sought from others.”
“Impact and other unions involved in trying to negotiate an extension to the Croke Park agreement say claims that certain categories are being “singled out” for excessive cuts are wrong.”
Impact said that from the outset of the current talks, it and other unions had insisted any package that emerges must be broadly equitable. It said this meant that those on higher incomes should be asked to contribute proportionately more, and that the net outcome of a final package should not hit any group disproportionately.
“Premium attendance payments make up a relatively large portion of the pay bill, which goes almost exclusively to a small number of staff groups. Management says it can’t be excluded from savings in the current climate. It also says that excluding premium attendance payments from any change, when everything else is on the table, flies in the face of equity.”
“This is especially true when other groups of workers, including local authority outdoor workers and staff in disability services and medical labs, have already seen big cuts in their overtime and premium payments through reforms agreed under the Croke Park deal.”
Last night the deputy general secretary of the Psychiatric Nurses Association Seamus Murphy strongly criticised other trade union leaders who were involved in the talks with the Government aimed at securing a proposed extension to the Croke Park agreement.
He said the Government was reneging on the current Croke Park agreement with the complicity of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
Addressing the 24/7 frontline alliance rally in Tallaght, he said it was incomprehensible that negotiators of the public services committee of Congress were in cahoots with the Government to breach a deal which had 16 months to run.
The Psychiatric Nurses Association is not affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.