An official complaint has been lodged with a legal section of the United Nations over the Irish government's failure to backpay increased allowances to members of the elite Army Ranger Wing (ARW), some of whom are understood to be owed up to €40,000.
The complaint has been made by PDForra, the association which represents enlisted personnel in the ARW, and dates back to a fight for increased ARW allowances it started in October 2006 due to the elite force's unique role.
PDForra subsequently entered into an arbitration process in June 2010 and the adjudicator found in favour of the association's claim on behalf of the ARW in September of that year.
The findings of the adjudicator also indicated that increased allowances should be reviewed and adjusted, again, upwards, in 2014 and reviewed every third year thereafter.
However, the government enacted the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act, which legislation provided for, inter alia, the delaying of implementation of increased allowances.
The government subsequently agreed to backdate the award, but only from October 1 last.
The complaint has been lodged with the UN's International Labour Organisation.
It came after PDForra discovered an association representing prison officers in Britain had made a similar and successful complaint to the same organisation.
PDForra general secretary Gerard Guinan said effectively his association is trying to highlight the plight of a small but elite group of members of the Defence Forces who were disenfranchised from awards made based upon a unilateral decision of the government.
“This, in PDForra's estimation, breaches the protections that should be afforded to 'essential workers' who are denied the right to strike,” Mr Guinan said.
He added that moreover, the government has still not said if it will allow his association to affiliate with the umbrella union body ICTU.
“This continued exclusion from the grant of associate status with ICTU could have a detrimental impact on securing advances for our members over the coming years,” Mr Guinan said.
“Presently, a lot of procedural avenues are closed off for our members and PDForra believes that the only manner by which we can attain an equitable solution for our members is to highlight the inequity of our current circumstances in an international forum.”
The European Social Rights Committee (ESRC) ruled in 2018 that PDForra had the right to affiliate with ICTU.
The government's failure to acknowledge that ruling resulted in PDForra making another official complaint to the ESRC last May.