Bid to end ‘yellow pack’ pay for privates in Defence Forces

The association which represents ordinary ranks in the Defence Forces has taken a case to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in an attempt to end ‘yellow pack’ pay for privates who enlisted after 2013.

For the first time in the association’s history, it was allowed yesterday to put a case to the WRC.

PDforra general secretary, Gerry Rooney, said his association has reached an understanding with Department of Defence officials on equalising the wages of the post-2013 privates with those who entered the Defence Forces prior to that date — a difference of nearly €2,000 per annum.

“To our immense surprise, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) has distanced itself from the understanding with Department of Defence, without explanation. This unexplained and unjust attitude of DPER is a major breakdown in the trust which should be an integral part of the negotiation process around the Lansdowne Road agreement,” Mr Rooney said.

“The young men and women affected by this dispute earn extremely low initial wages of €21,800 per annum. PDforra is determined to ensure that these fully trained and operational members are treated the same as other entry level public servants,” he said.

PDforra has not signed up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement despite being willing to recommend its acceptance in a ballot of its membership.

Mr Rooney said it is PDforra’s position that the full terms of the Haddington Road Agreement (HRA) have not been applied to its members of private rank, who have joined the Defence Forces since 2013, and “this has created a totally unjust two-tier pay structure”.

He said that access to the facilitation services of the WRC is unprecedented for PDforra and will hopefully assist in reaching a satisfactory outcome on the restoration of pay under the Haddington Road Agreement: “The WRC is particularly well placed to assist in our dispute because it concerns, in our view, the correct and just application of the terms of the agreement. Our recently recruited members are being wrongly treated as second-class citizens and it’s totally unacceptable.”

An agreement was reached last November with the Department of Defence to pay a higher allowance to those who have served on migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

The matter was referred to DPER, but the crews are waiting to be paid €1,300 each.

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