Efforts being made to deliver 3% pay rise for staff before Christmas, HSE says

Nurse union complains it is ‘particularly galling’ members must wait for money due while other civil sectors get theirs

The Health Service Executive has said it is still trying to implement a scheduled 3 per cent pay increase under the public sector pay deal in time for Christmas as the three main unions in the health sector again described delays and uncertainty being experienced by staff waiting on the money as “unacceptable”.

The State’s biggest employer had written to staff on Monday setting out a broad timeframe for the payment of different portions of the deal and said it was doing its best to implement the 3 per cent rise that is due to be backdated to the start of February in time for it to be included in December’s pay packets.

The increase and back payment would provide a lump sum of about €1,100 before tax to a worker earning €40,000 per annum if it was included. More than 100,000 in total, including those in voluntary hospitals and organisations dependent on HSE funding are due the rise.

Basic pay

In a statement on Wednesday, the HSE told The Irish Times it “is currently working to implement the 3 per cent pay adjustment for staff included for the pay increase. This adjustment is very complex and every effort is currently being made to make these adjustments to basic pay including arrears for payment in December pay dates (up to Thursday, December 22nd). The HSE will continue to update our staff over the coming weeks as to the progress of this work.”

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Three unions, Siptu, Fórsa and the Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation, representing the majority of HSE staff had earlier issued a statement calling for the increases to be implemented immediately.

Albert Murphy of the INMO said its members were “incensed” over the situation.

‘Invaluable service’

He said it was “particularly galling” that “other public servants have received their money while nurses and midwives and other healthcare workers are once again being made wait”.

Ashley Connolly of Fórsa trade union said it was “not acceptable to the hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers who have provided invaluable service to this country”.

Siptu’s divisional organiser for health, Kevin Figgis, meanwhile, said, “Government must take all necessary measures to ensure that no healthcare worker is left short of money prior to Christmas, given the unprecedented cost-of-living crisis which affects everybody in this country.”

HSE pensioners are understood to be experiencing particularly long delays with regard to increases due under the terms of the Building Momentum deal, with unions told that staff shortages on its administration side are to blame. An update on implementation of the increases agreed between Government and unions in August is to be provided in January.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Industry and Employment Correspondent at The Irish Times