Unions likely to delay decision on knock-on pay claims for few weeks

Public service unions expected to await details of new contract nurses agree with State

INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha: “These proposals make important strides for safe staffing, pay parity, and achieving respect for our professions.”  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha: “These proposals make important strides for safe staffing, pay parity, and achieving respect for our professions.” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Public service trade unions seem likely to hold off for a number of weeks on deciding whether to seek additional pay increases for their members on foot of the deal for nurses. That agreement led to the suspension of planned nurses’ strikes this week.

Many of the larger unions representing staff in the State sector have maintained they are continuing to examine the terms of the recommendation issued by the Labour Court on Monday.

Highly placed union sources said they were likely to wait and see the nature of the new contract which will have to be agreed between nurses and health service management over the next three weeks in return for the new pay proposals before making any final decision.

The Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation (INMO) has come under criticism from some members on social media who were dissatisfied with the terms of the agreement. However the union has contended that the proposals are substantially better than have been reported.

Additional allowances

The deal would see members’ remuneration increase through a combination of a new higher pay scale to which nurses and midwives could move and an expansion of the numbers who receive additional allowances.

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe said the agreement would cost €10-€15 million this year and €30-€35 million next year.

The INMO said its executive and management were recommending to members that they vote to accept the proposals in a forthcoming ballot subject to the new contract, which will be negotiated over the coming weeks.

INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “These proposals make important strides for safe staffing, pay parity, and achieving respect for our professions. They are not the end-point, however, and show the way for all grades in nursing and midwifery to get to fair pay levels.”

The INMO told members in a briefing note that under the proposals new entrants would move up after 16 weeks, skip the second increment and go straight to the third point of the existing scale to a salary of €32,171.

Pay scale

It said the agreement also proposed the establishment of a new, higher salary pay scale.

The union said that location and qualification allowances worth between €2,229 and €3,350 would be extended to those working in maternity services and medical and surgical areas .

It said the agreement would also extend allowances to public health nurses if they were not already receiving these payments.

The INMO said the deal also provided for an independent expert group to look at nurses’ and midwives’ pay, particularly for promotional grades.

“The new scale, combined with the location/qualification allowance, gives a higher gross pay than allied health professionals at almost all points on the scale. We expect further advances under the independent expert group.”

The union also said that. under the proposals, guaranteed multiannual funding would be put in place to implement safe staffing in all medical and surgical areas and emergency departments in acute settings.