Up to 16,000 security guards to get first pay rise in four years

Implementation of industry-wide agreement had been held up by High Court action

There are some 16,000 security guards in the State, and while a significant number have received increases from their employers ahead of the ERO’s implementation many more will be benefit from this week’s signing. Photograph: iStock

Thousands of security guards here are set to receive a first pay rise in four years at the start of September as an Employment Regulation Order (ERO) agreed more than a year ago finally comes into force.

Minister of State for Employment Affairs Neale Richmond is expected to sign the order required to give effect to the ERO over the course of this week, with employers then given 10 days or so to implement the pay rises.

There are some 16,000 security guards in the State, and while a significant number have received increases from their employers ahead of the ERO’s implementation many more will be benefit from this week’s signing.

Under the terms of the ERO the minimum rate payable will be €12.90 per hour, up from the current €11.65.

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The ERO had been agreed by representatives of employers, industry groups and workers, then approved by the Labour Court more than a year ago, but its implementation was held up when three firms in the sector took a High Court action aimed at preventing the then minister Damien English signing it into force. The full case had not yet been heard when the action was resolved earlier in the summer.

That legal intervention was one of a succession of obstacles placed in the way of rises being granted in recent years which, combined, meant that minimum rates of pay in the sector had slipped to just 35 cent above the minimum wage. Though that gap will be extended to €1.60 when the increase comes into effect in September, it will be cut to just 20 cent per hour on January 1st if the Government accepts the recommendation of the Low Pay Commission to increase the national minimum wage to €12.70.

It is likely, however, that a new ERO, the terms of which had been agreed by security industry representatives working to break the impasse caused by the court action, will be submitted for approval when the minimum six-month period required has elapsed.

Based on the Low Pay Commission recommendation, those working in the sector would receive more than €14 an hour if the second ERO was to be approved.

As it is the one to be signed this week by Mr Richmond will add just under €50 a week to basic pay based on a 39 hour week, with additional increases in relation to overtime premiums and some allowances.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times