INMO 'will protect' income of members

Mon, Feb 4, 2013, 00:00

The union representing around 40,000 nurses has said it is determined to take “every step necessary” to protect the income of members whether it comes in the form of basic pay, allowances or premium payments.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said no formal proposals had so far been set out by health service management on how it plans to generate savings of over €400 million in its pay bill under any new Croke Park agreement.

However in a bulletin to members today it said: “It can be expected that the intensity of this process, and the potential for serious developments, will increase, significantly, in the coming days particularly if management continue to adopt their current approach of targeting premium pay and allowances for cuts.”

Government representatives at the current talks on an extension to the Croke Park agreement have, in broad terms, indicated they want to generate savings by means to cuts to pay for high earners, reductions in allowances and premium payments and the introduction of longer working hours.

The INMO also said that organisations within the 24/7 alliance – a group of unions and bodies representing nurses, gardai and prison officers – had agreed that they would not accept any reduction to existing premium rates/allowances as part of this process.

The INMO said the alliance had also agreed, if required, “to work collectively to protect the existing income of their wide range of members all of whom work in the frontline e.g. nurses, midwives, gardai, prison officers and other 24/7 grades”.

Groups in the alliance are to meet again on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, trade union Impact indicated any extension to the Croke Park deal agreed with the Government is likely going to have to involve some additional working hours for staff.

General secretary Shay Cody told his union's executive committee last Thursday he believed public service management would not agree to a package that did not include some element of increased working time.

In a bulletin to members today Impact said: "Therefore there was no prospect of agreeing an extension to the Croke Park agreement, or its protections on pay, compulsory redundancies and other issues, if unions refused to discuss any proposals on working time."

In its opening position in the current talks Government representatives proposed that all staff in the public service should work the equivalent of an additional one hour per day regardless of their current working day.

Impact and other trade unions have told management they will not agree to increased working hours on the scale proposed.

Impact said today that unions had also demanded that management provided "full details of how, and by how much, added time would reduce the public service pay bill".

It said unions had engaged external financial advisors to examine the management data when it is tabled.

“But, in any case, Impact has said it will not recommend a package that includes five additional working hours each week."

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