Shift pay at Met Éireann for normal day
Almost 70 staff in Met Éireann are being paid special shift-working premiums for working normal office hours, according to unpublished documents.
Despite working nine to five, the employees receive allowances worth 13 per cent of their salary. This works out at payments of up to €10,000 extra to each employee, or an overall cost of €460,000 in 2011.
The allowance was introduced in the 1970s as a way of making office hours more financially attractive for staff who could earn more by doing shift work.
Internal Government records show it was part of a “comprehensive agreement which recognised this difficulty for management, but also a difficulty for staff that might be ‘forced off’ shift as a result of the requirements of the service or by health considerations”.
Range of allowances
The allowance is set to be reviewed by the Department of Public Expenditure next month, which is examining a range of allowances paid across the public sector.
Overall, just over 150 staff who work for Met Éireann, received €2.3 million in allowances, on top of their salaries, in 2011. Allowances accounted for almost 20 per cent of employees’ pay. Staff working outside of normal office hours receive allowances of up 27 per cent of their salary.
Other allowances payable to certain grades of Met Éireann staff include a “travel to work allowance”, for those who work in rural areas where there is no public transport available. It is worth up to €3,000 a year.
In 2011, just six people were paid the allowance, but it is not payable to new recruits.
The department is engaging with staff representatives with a view to abolishing the allowance for existing beneficiaries, records state.
There is also an “eating on site” allowance worth €494 which was paid to two staff members based in rural areas. This is paid to certain grades of “State industrial staff” across the public sector.
Show of strength
Meanwhile, one of the main trade unions in the Civil Service is to use anti-austerity demonstrations next month as a show of strength against a backdrop of the new talks on an extension to the Croke Park deal.
Most trade unions are encouraging members to take part in rallies planned around the State by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions for Saturday, February 9th, which will call for a new deal on bank debt.
However, in a note to members at the weekend, the Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU), which represents low-paid staff in the Civil Service, said that while the move was designed to give workers a voice to put pressure on Government and the EU over the impact of the bank debt, “we in the CPSU are determined to use the demonstrations as a show of strength at a time which coincides with the talks on Croke Park”.