Nursing directors entitled to reduction in pay cuts, says union

ALMOST 100 directors of nursing are entitled to a reduction in public service pay cuts as granted to higher civil servants but they have not been given it, union sources have claimed.

Up to the end of 2008 the senior nurses, whose maximum on the salary scale was just over €80,000, would have received between 7.5%-10% in performance-related pay (PRP) on top of that figure.

However, at that point the nurses lost their PRP.

Now the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) have lodged a case with the Rights Commissioner under the Payment of Wages Act over the legality of that move by the Government.

Sources believe it is because of their challenge that the Government has not included the nurses among the groups granted a reduction in the public service pay cuts announced in the December budget.

There has been an angry reaction to the fact that senior civil servants, many earning six-figure sums, successfully lobbied to have themselves exempted from a large percentage of the cuts on the basis of the abolition of their performance-related pay scheme which they said averaged 10% of salary.

In the budget Brian Lenihan announced pay cuts of 8% for assistant secretaries and 12% for deputy secretaries in Government departments. He also announced the formal termination of the performance-related bonus scheme.

However, a fortnight later the Government decided the extent of these reductions should be scaled back on the basis that the cumulative effect of both of these cuts on staff in these the grades would have been unfair.

The level of the cuts were reduced to between 3.3%-5.5% after the abolition of the bonus payments was taken into account.

Sources within the INMO say they are focused on the claim with the Rights Commissioner that the withholding of the performance related payments were illegal.

However, when that complaint is completed it is likely the union’s attention will turn to the right to exemption from the reduction.

Meanwhile, civil service unions again closed Government departments until 11am yesterday morning in the ongoing campaign against the pay cuts announced in the December budget. The action took place in 19 departments.


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