The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has claimed frontline public servants earning €35,000 will lose 8% of their pay as a result of the Croke Park II proposals — but no other public servants earning less than €80,000 will lose nearly as much.
Dave Hughes, deputy general secretary, was speaking just hours after the Labour Relations Commission issued a series of proposals designed to cut €1bn from the public sector pay bill.
The menu of cuts includes a reduction in premium payments, cuts for higher-paid staff, a longer working week, and reductions in overtime. Compulsory redundancies can also be sought in certain cases if staff will not redeploy or accept voluntary redundancy.
However, there were concessions from the Government and union negotiators said it was the best deal achievable.
ICTU public services committee chairman Shay Cody said: “Faced with management’s determination to make large additional cuts to the pay bill — by agreement or by legislation — our task was to minimise the adverse effects on our members and the services they provide. We have achieved far more through negotiation than we could have hoped to gain through protests.”
However, a number of unions, including the INMO, withdrew from the talks before the end.
Mr Hughes said that in spite of concessions on premium payments, the net effect on its members and other frontline workers was still too much.
“They have taken away the twilight premium and they have reduced to time-and-three-quarters the Sunday premium. So a nurse now on €35,000 per annum, based on a salary which is made up because they work the out-of-hours shifts and getting the twilight premium on a Sunday, will lose 8% of their salary.
“The only other people who will lose 8% are those earning more than €80,000. Everybody earning below €65,000 does not lose any pay. Everyone, including the nurse, has to work extra hours. But the nurse works extra hours and loses 8% of salary. It is grossly disproportionate.”
The 24/7 Frontline Alliance of emergency worker unions meets today to discuss its next move.
Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said that if unions vote to accept the cuts, “this will be the last contribution that people will be asked to make”.
But Siptu leader Jack O’Connor said there was no guarantee members of his union would back the deal. He said with the solvency of the State at risk, there should have been a greater effort to make the wealthy contribute more. He did acknowledge, however, that the proposals would impact to a greater extent on public servants as they move up the pay scale.
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