Defence Forces national executive meeting to consider fall-out from PSPC report

The two representative associations for the Defence Forces are set to have their national executive meeting within days to consider the fall-out from the Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC) report.

Defence Forces national executive meeting to consider fall-out from PSPC report

The two representative associations for the Defence Forces are set to have their national executive meeting within days to consider the fall-out from the Public Service Pay Commission (PSPC) report.

RACO, which represents officers, said its executive would meet next Monday and Tuesday to discuss the recommendations but was concerned that the report failed to address issues it raised that would have eased the retention crisis in the Defence Forces.

Following the publication of PSPC report, RACO general secretary Commandant Conor King said the commission ignored its suggestions.

These included the reinstatement of the supplementary pension for post-2013 new entrants, a survey of whom had shown 79% felt they no longer have a viable long term career in the Defence Forces because they are forced to retire at a younger age than most other civil servants and therefore can not maximise their pensions to 65.

Comdt King said RACO also called for the reinstatement of "the proven retention measure of Fixed Period Promotion" for highly trained specialists, but this was not taken onboard by the PSPC and neither was the reinstatement of the Specialised Instructor Allowance for "officers involved in onerous and highly demanding induction training".

Comdt King said that since RACO made its written submission to the PSPC in February 2018, "a staggering" 130 Officers and 1100 enlisted personnel, "or nearly 13% of military personnel have left the Permanent Defence Forces".

He said the restoration of certain allowances merely brings them back to pre-2013 levels and the only way to retain personnel is with core pay increases.

Gerard Guinan, the general secretary of PDForra, which represents enlisted personnel, said he "remains deeply concerned about the overall approach to remuneration of our members".

He said his association will now undertake a detailed review of the findings made by the PSPC and its national executive will meet in the coming days to consider the totality of recommendations made and brief their members thereafter.

He said PDForra will in the meantime be writing to the Department of Defence to clarify some of the issues contained within the pronouncements from Government.

Mr Guinan said it remains to be seen if the recommendations made are sufficient to retain members who have waited all too long and patiently for this report.

"While some of the recommendations made by the commission go some way towards meeting the terms of the submission made by our association, in other instances, they fall considerably short," Mr Guinan said.

"Our association has pointed out on numerous occasions that there must be some correlation between pay and hours worked. This requires the urgent amendment of the current rates of duty allowances," he added.

PDForra president Mark Keane, who works for the Naval Service, said Naval Service members had got the worst deal of the lot.

"They've increased the patrol allowance, but only to €5 a day after tax. The exodus from the navy means remaining personnel are now double and treble-jobbing, so this increase doesn't take into account the extra workload they have taken on," Mr Keane said.

The Naval Service has suffered more resignations percentage-wise than the Army or Air Corps.

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