Government offer to Garda may motivate other union requests

Proposals to Garda on rent and briefing pay could spark similar claims by other unions

General secretary of the  Civil, Public and  Services Union Eoin Ronayne: said State’s offering to gardaí was “a welcome precedent that we expect will facilitate the rollback of the 105-plus unpaid hours a year each of our members works”.  Photograph: Eric Luke

General secretary of the Civil, Public and Services Union Eoin Ronayne: said State’s offering to gardaí was “a welcome precedent that we expect will facilitate the rollback of the 105-plus unpaid hours a year each of our members works”. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

The pay proposals put forward by the Government to two Garda representative groups this week in an attempt to avert an unprecedented strike on Friday were quickly rejected.

However, they may yet have a lasting impact, after generating considerable interest among other public service groups keen to find ways to gain that little bit extra for their members.

The proposed Garda deal involves the reintroduction of a €4,000 rent allowance for recently recruited gardaí. This payment would also be incorporated into core pay and would have knock-on implications for premium rates and overtime. The Government also said it would introduce a €1,459 payment for gardaí taking part in a 15-minute briefing session in advance of going on shift.

Some unions believe these proposals for gardaí could have implications for the current requirement across the public service for staff to work additional hours without any extra payment.

Eoin Ronayne, general secretary of the Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU) – which represents lower-paid civil servants – said the move appeared to be a “a welcome precedent that we expect will facilitate the rollback of the 105-plus unpaid hours a year each of our members works”.

“Alternatively, it is likely our members will expect payment for these unpaid hours which are worked at the end of our day as against the start of the day in the case of the garda,” he said.

Lansdowne Road

Siptu health division organiser Paul Bell said the Government had now placed a question mark over the overall Lansdowne Road public service pay agreement, which has already been backed by more than 20 trade unions.

He said his members were asking how they could get similar payments to those the Government was prepared to give to gardaí.

Mr Bell said his members were asking how the Government managed to secure over the weekend a €30 million pot from which to make payments to one part of the public service, despite saying there was no money in the budget for additional rises next year apart from those set out under Lansdowne Road.

He said Siptu had a mandate to seek pay restoration for its members in the public service but that this depended on getting into negotiations on a successor deal to the Lansdowne Road agreement.

INMO scrutiny

The executive of the Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation (INMO) is to meet on Monday and Tuesday of next week and is likely to consider closely the offer made to gardaí.

Sources close to the organisation said the new proposals for a “parade payment” for gardaí had significant implications for nurses, who also have unpaid “handover periods” when they transfer responsibilities to colleagues at the end of their shifts.

Nurses are angry at the requirement for them to work 1½ hours additional unpaid hours every week and may next week announce the start of a campaign against these measures. This as yet unsuccessful effort to put off the unprecedented Garda strike may have a lasting impact for the Lansdowne Road accord and wider public service pay.