Nurses have again threatened to withdraw from talks on a new Croke Park agreement if the Government continues to target their earnings.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, which represents 40,000 nurses, is also threatening to mobilise with other frontline service unions to organise a campaign of action to protect wages.
Following a meeting of its executive the INMO accused the Government’s negotiators of adopting an approach to the talks which was “provocative, unrealistic, and primarily targeted at the income of frontline public servants who have a 24/7 roster”.
Its executive council will meet again following the next round of discussions with the Government.
“It will then decide with regard to its continued participation in the process,” said the union.
If the INMO was to walk away from the talks, it would be following in the footsteps of the representative bodies of garda sergeants and inspectors and rank-and-file gardaí.
“The INMO fully supports the stance taken by the Garda representative bodies with regard to the totally unrealistic and provocative list of demands tabled by the management side,” said general secretary Liam Doran.
“There can be no agreement, acceptable to the INMO, which seeks to impose cuts or reductions in existing pay rates, premium pay rates, and allowances, which form the total income of members arising from their obligation to work 24/7, 365 days a year.”
Mr Doran said his executive council had directed that talks with unions which have members working on the frontline should now focus on “drawing up whatever action plan is required to realise the shared objective of protecting the income of members, in the frontline, right across the public service”.
Mr Doran said the Government needed to radically alter its agenda for the talks.
“If it continues with the current approach of disproportionately attacking frontline staff and seeking to dismantle other fundamental conditions of employment, then this process cannot succeed.”
Rank-and-file gardaí will begin industrial action if the Government makes any attempt to implement cuts to its 11,000 members’ pay through reductions in allowances and premium payments under a successor to the Croke Park Agreement.
Garda Representative Association president John Parker said the association signed up to the original Croke Park deal and its terms were still in existence.
“We agreed to engage in a transformation agenda and for that protections were built in of no cuts to pay or allowances,” he said.
“The Government cannot come along and change the rules midway.”
Meanwhile, Siptu warned its public service members that they face unilaterally implemented pay and pension cuts if unions and management do not reach a deal on Croke Park.
In spite of the warning from vice-president Patricia King and divisional organisers Gene Mealy and Paul Bell, Siptu said that any deal has to share the burden proportionally and ensure those “at the higher end of the salary structure” contribute most.
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