Proposed cuts 'disproportionately unfair' to shift workers, claims Doran

Tue, Feb 26, 2013, 00:00

The head of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, Liam Doran, said the cuts being tabled were “grossly inequitable” and “disproportionately unfair” to shift workers.

He said for those on salaries of €35,000- 40,000 the cumulative hit would be 8 per cent, with nurses and midwives also having a longer working week.

Mr Doran said the percentage cut would be greater for someone on €40,000 than someone on €65,000 and his organisation would “not be bound by the agreement because it was grossly inequitable”. The organisation walked out of the talks at the weekend.Irish Medical Organisation director of industrial relations Steve Tweed, which also left the talks at the weekend, said the deal confirmed it was “right to walk out of the talks”.

Describing the proposals as “seriously flawed” and negatively impacting on the health services and on members’ welfare, he said the organisation would “resist any attempts by Government to force through these cuts”.

More difficult

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association said the deal would make it even more difficult to recruit and retain specialist consultants.

Consultants had already suffered pay cuts of up to 40 per cent compared to their 2008 contracts it said, and difficulties in filling new consultant posts on salaries reduced by up to 58 per cent would “damage the Irish health system”.

A spokesman for the Garda Representative Association said it “hadn’t received any news on what is happening” and “couldn’t comment on a document it hadn’t seen”.

Meanwhile, general secretary of the Civil Public and Services Union Eoin Ronayne said the deal held “a number of areas of concern”.

Though the union left negotiations on Sunday night and yesterday had not yet seen the deal, Mr Ronayne described any freeze in increments as “objectionable”.

His union would also “have a problem” with the potential for an eight-to-eight working day or changes to flexitime. The proposal that a person rather than a post could be redeployed with those not accepting redeployment made redundant was also a problem. “Until we can see the actual text, I’m still convinced that we made the right decision to walk out.”

Siptu president Jack O’Connor has given a qualified welcome to the proposals. He said it was the best deal that could be “achieved by negotiation” and that the burden of cuts seemed to fall on those who could afford to pay it most.

The agreement will go to Siptu’s executive council for approval next week. It will make a recommendation to public sector workers who are part of the union.

Another strategy

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six-One programme last night, Mr O’Connor said they would have to decide whether to accept the agreement as it was or decide whether another strategy “would yield a better result”.

“I do know it is the best that can be achieved by negotiation. I’m quite sure that the people on the negotiating team left nothing behind them. It does appear to meet the criteria of a kind of a fairness.”