Pay Commission to say it was constrained from urging Defence Force pay rises

Report to highlight challenges in retaining military pilots, propose allowance increases

Official projections suggest the numbers of pilots in place may be close to 30 per cent lower than the approved levels. File photograph

Official projections suggest the numbers of pilots in place may be close to 30 per cent lower than the approved levels. File photograph

 

The Public Service Pay Commission is expected to say it was constrained by its terms of reference from making recommendations on increasing core pay for Defence Forces personnel.

In a report to be published after Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, it will instead propose increases in allowances for Defence Force personnel and urge that other reviews of remuneration for those in technical and specialist areas take place.

The commission will say the Defence Forces are facing a unique challenge in retaining pilots, with official projections suggesting the numbers in place may be close to 30 per cent lower than the approved levels this year. It will urge the re-introduction of a loyalty bonus scheme which could be worth nearly €20,000 to pilots.

The report is also likely to highlight difficulties in retaining other key specialist personnel such as military aircraft maintenance technicians, air traffic controllers , engineering and ordnance officers in the Army and engineers in the Naval Service.

The commission is also expected to say it has evidence of retention difficulties at captain and certain non-commissioned officer levels and that some system of incentivising such personnel to remain in place should be looked at as a priority in future pay negotiations.

The report is due to propose that a pay review be undertaken for personnel in technical pay grades and to suggest that there should be significant reforms to the way personnel are recruited.

It is likely to argue the Government should consider extending the permitted age for new entrants and re-enlisting or re-commissioning retired staff to assist in the training of new personnel. This would allow serving personnel to concentrate on operational duties.

The report is expected to call on the Government to put in place a series of non-pay measures to try to assist in the retention of military personnel.

The commission will say it was prevented by its terms of reference from undertaking a general review on behalf of any group. The report will say the pay structures of the Defence Forces should be examined in the future as part of a general review – which the commission had previously proposed in a report last year - of the adequacy of pay arrangements in the public service.

It will urge that the military service allowance be increased by 10 per cent with a minimum increase of €350 per year applicable to those on lower rates of the allowance.

The report will also recommend that as a result of the absence of overtime or limits on working hours in the Defence Forces, cuts made to a number of other allowances in 2013 such as the security duty allowance and the patrol duty allowance for naval personnel should be reversed.

The report is expected to be published by Minster for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe and Minister of State at the Department of Defence Paul Keogh after the Cabinet meeting on Thursday.