Nurses will not face any rise in retention fees under new deal

Military officers say they were ‘effectively ostracised’ from public pay talks process

Nurses will not face any increase in the cost of their annual retention fee to their regulatory body under an agreement reached as part of the new public service pay accord.

The current Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) annual retention fee for nurses is €100.

It is understood that health and social care professionals will also not face any increases in annual fees they have to pay to their regulatory body, Coru.

Asked on Monday about whether any side deals had been sanctioned for particular unions or groups as part of the talks on a new public service deal, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said: "Some clarifications will have to issue after a negotiation of this scale and complexity but nothing that will add to the pay cost of €906 million."

The department declined to comment on the nature of any such “clarifications” or whether they would lead to any non-pay cost increases.

Side deals – or “chairman’s notes” as they were known technically – to address issues or grievances for particular groups or unions were common features of previous public service agreement processes.

Military

Meanwhile, military officers claim they have been “effectively ostracised” from process that led to the negotiation of the proposed pay deal despite what they said were “assurances to the contrary” which they had been given.

A number of representative bodies which are not affiliated to the trade union movement believe they were effectively left on the sidelines because the accord was negotiated mainly between the Public Service Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Following a meeting of its executive on Monday, the Representative Association for Commissioned Officers (Raco) said it was to seek an urgent meeting with the Minister for Defence Simon Coveney "to discuss the conduct" of the pay talks.

“The Raco national executive expressed its considerable disappointment at the way our members were effectively misled as to their ability to engage in pay talks as equal partners,” it said in a statement.

“There has been no recognition of our restricted industrial relations status, and no premium placed on the prohibition on industrial action. Members note the ability of those who are willing to take industrial action to achieve positive outcomes from talks.

“The national executive feels that it will have little choice but to recommend a sectoral pay round for all members, and hopes that the well-documented organisational retention issues can be solved by the Commission on Defence.”

Under the proposed new agreement, the Government has earmarked €237 million – the equivalent of a 1 per cent pay rise in the public service – to a new structure to deal with awards or claims in particular parts of the public service. Alternatively, the money earmarked for a particular sector could be used for a general pay rise for all in that specific area of the public service.

Separately, the executive of the primary teachers' union, the INTO, is to announce on Tuesday what recommendation it will be making, if any, to members to back the proposed new agreement in a forthcoming ballot.

Gardaí

The executive of the Garda Representative Association, whose members are rank-and-file members of the force, also met on Monday. A spokesman said afterwards that it was still considering the proposed new accord.

The executive of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors is expected to consider the proposed new pay deal at a meeting on Tuesday.

The Public Service Committee of Ictu is to meet on Tuesday and is likely to discuss plans for its affiliate organisations to ballot members on the proposed deal.