Lower pay rates for new Garda recruits starting at just over €23,000 a year will “seriously impact on morale”, the biggest staff association has said.
The warning from the Garda Representative Association comes as 600 recruits are being taken on this year and follows the training of 550 new gardaí over the previous year.
They are the first batch of new gardaí since recruitment stopped in 2009. They start on a salary of €23,171, compared to almost €32,000 for a trainee PSNI officer.
In a submission seen by the Irish Examiner, the GRA said the starting salary was effectively 10% lower than pre-2009. The reduction includes the loss of €4,000 rent allowance as well as 29 other allowances.
In its submission to the Review of Industrial Relations for An Garda Síochána and Garda Pay, the GRA said this creates a “two-tier” pay structure.
“The pay position of new garda recruits will undoubtedly give rise to significant morale and integration problems for the force,” said the GRA.
The review is being carried out under Ray McGee formerly of the Labour Court. It is due to finish by the end of February. The submission said recruits will not reach their maximum pay scale until they serve 19 years, compared to 17 years for their colleagues.
It said the changes effectively constituted “a demoralising exploitation” of the most vulnerable group in the organisation.
“As time goes by this will seriously impact on morale, and has already taken new recruits to contact both garda management and the national media; and this has gained traction in the public sphere. This will increase.”
The submission said a police officer starting in the London Metropolitan Police Service earned a salary of €35,464. The staring salary for a PSNI trainee officer in the North is €31,851.
“Serving to accentuate this unacceptable scenario, the GRA insists that is is wholly inappropriate that gardaí working side-by-side or on a teamwork basis in identical circumstances, should have to endure a scenario whereby one individual is legitimately and appropriately in receipt of an allowance that another is precluded from,” the submission said.
It added: “The association must insist upon the immediate restoration and application of all allowances, including the rent allowance, to new entrants to An Garda Síochána.”
Elsewhere, the submission called for the establishment of a Garda Renumeration Review Body to provide independent and binding determinations to government on garda pay and conditions.
It said there should be “an appropriate uprating” of garda pay in the form of an allowance, for the “special disadvantages” of police life.
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