Government agrees to modify plan to reform flexitime in latest deal incentive
In new incentives aimed at encouraging support for the renegotiated Croke Park agreement, the Government has agreed to modify proposals to reform flexitime working and to row back on plans to outsource the running of payroll systems in the health service.
In further "side letters" to trade unions, the Government has also said if the deal is approved it will take account of "an inequitable situation" arising for some teachers who would lose pensionable pay as a result of the loss of supervision and substitution allowances and the pay cuts proposed for those earning over €65,000.
Highly placed sources also said the Government had offered to reintroduce a scheme providing for the establishment of senior staff nurse positions for personnel with more than 20 years' service.
This would attract an increase of about 5 per cent but the staff concerned could lose any acting-up allowance for the first three months.
Health service management is also understood to have agreed to regularise the situation of staff who had been in long-term acting-up positions for two years.
Informed sources said there could also be changes to the controversial nurse graduate scheme - which would see staff appointed on two-year contracts at about 80 per cent of the current official staff nurse rate.
Such staff would be exempt from the move to increase nursing hours from 37.5 to 39 per week.
Separately, Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said his union had a letter offering a meeting with the Minister for Health to deal with the nurse graduate scheme.
He said Siptu had also recouped two concession days which had been abolished for his members, and that these would now be incorporated into annual leave.
In a concession on flexitime working, the Government told unions that the maximum amount of flexi-leave available per flexi-period will be one day.
"The maximum carry-forward of hours will also equate to one working day. In circumstances where a greater carry-forward of hours is currently permitted, this will continue."
The Government has also said that in the reorganisation of the health service "the concept of in-house shared services will be the preferred option, e.g. in human resources, payroll and other such areas".
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said letters to clarify points of understanding between sectoral management and unions that were specific to one group or sector were "a common and long-standing feature of industrial relations collective agreements".
Meanwhile the Garda Representative Association said its members had decided to exercise their discretion in dealing with "revenue-generating offences" such as motorists not displaying a tax disc.
Gardaí are also expected to withdraw from voluntary overtime on St Patrick's Day.
Separately, the the National Ambulance Service Representative Association said that from March 15th it was withdrawing goodwill, including use of personal phones, computers and satellite navigation systems.
Its 500 members will also refuse non-rostered duty at public events.