Emergency staff ‘to lose 11% of pay through cuts’

Emergency service workers will lose almost 11% of their take-home pay just through the Government’s proposals for cuts to shift premiums, their representative bodies have claimed.

At a meeting of the 24/7 Frontline Alliance yesterday, nursing, garda, and prison officer representatives gave a breakdown of how their members stand to lose an average of 10.63% in premium payments alone under Croke Park II measures.

The 10.63% cut was broken down as:

*Changes to the Sunday/public holiday premiums from double time to time-and-a-half, a 6.62% reduction;

*Loss of the time-and-one-sixth “twilight” shift premium, a 2.6% reduction;

*Loss of Saturday premium, a 1.08% reduction;

*Change of night duty premium from time-and-a-quarter to time-and-one-sixth, a 0.33% reduction.

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation general secretary Liam Doran pointed out that this hit on emergency service workers did not take into account all the other cuts proposed by the Government including reductions in allowances and increments and increases in working hours.

“This is why we are saying that the current approach by the Government is disproportionate,” he said.

The Frontline Alliance said the 70,000 workers represented by its constituent bodies had already suffered pay cuts of between 14% and 24% through measures such as the pension levy.

“It is therefore a reality that, at this stage, frontline staff are struggling to meet their obligations, pay their bills and look after their families,” the alliance said.

“Therefore any attempt to further reduce the income of 24/7 staff, by an attack upon the pay they receive for working unsocial hours and providing essential services around the clock, will inevitably result in a collective campaign to protect the existing terms and conditions of the alliance’s 70,000-plus members.”

Today, the executive of the Garda Representative Association is due to begin a two-day meeting to discuss the Government’s proposals under Croke Park II.

It is likely they will also discuss the options open to them in terms of action in response to any cuts to their members’ take home pay.

While strike action by gardaí is illegal, “blue flu”, work-to-rule, and other forms of industrial action are options.

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