Nurses, gardaí back Haddington Road deal
Moves represent major boost for agreement amid Government bid to secure €300m savings
Members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) protesting against projected pay cuts earlier this year. PNA members have supported the Haddington Road proposals by 70 per cent to 30 per cent, and INMO members by 71 per cent to 29 per cent. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
Nurses and rank-and-file gardaí have voted to accept the proposed Haddington Road agreement on public service pay.
Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) backed the new proposals by 71 per cent to 29 per cent in a ballot.
Members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) supported the proposed agreement by 70 per cent to 30 per cent.
Separately, members of the Garda Representative Association ( GRA) voted by 84 per cent to 16 per cent in favour of the proposed accord.
The moves represent a major boost for the Government in its bid to secure savings of €300 million this year and €1 billion over three years on its public service pay and pensions bill as part of an agreement with trade unions.
The INMO had by more than 90 per cent rejected the previous Croke Park II proposals for cutting the public service pay bill.
The PNA was also to the fore in opposing the original Croke Park II proposals, while the GRA had earlier walked out of the talks that led to the Croke Park II proposals.
Under the Haddington Road proposals, nurses and gardaí will retain existing double time rates for work on a Sunday.
However, nurses and gardaí will have to work additional hours.
Speaking following the ballot result, INMO general secretary Liam Doran said: “This is the third time in less than five years that nurses and midwives, as public servants, have suffered a reduction to their terms and conditions of employment.
“This harsh reality must now be acknowledged, by both Government and health service management, in the manner in which the changes provided for, in the Haddington Road agreement, are now implemented.”
He said the INMO, “in working towards the implementation of this agreement, will be insisting that all employers fully comply with the information and consultation requirements within the agreement, and demonstrate total respect for the contribution that has, is, and will continue to be made by nurses and midwives as frontline health professionals and public servants”.
GRA general secretary PJ Stone said: “We remain living in uncertain times, and earlier this year our executive resoundingly rejected the original proposals put forward by Government as Croke Park II.
“Our duty is to ensure our members are not subjected to further pay cuts or the erosion of pay for working unsocial hours - and the agreement worked through the Labour Relations Commission has maintained each member’s earnings in exchange for 30 extra hours work.”
General secretary of the PNA, Des Kavanagh, said there was a clear decision by members to accept the “best of the worst deal available”.
He said the last few months had been “a very bruising period for the PNA and other public service unions”.
Mr Kavanagh said the union would not focus on protecting the interests of its members in the context of the implementation of the new revised conditions of employment for its members.
He saidthe PNA would also seek to protect psychiatric services, which were continuously under threat due to a lack of resources.