Soldiers lodge complaint with European court over overtime payments 

Soldiers lodge complaint with European court over overtime payments 

Members of the Defence Forces are being increasingly forced to work additional hours to plug gaps as they are about 1,300 personnel short of what is supposed to be their minimum strength.

The country’s two military representative organisations have lodged a complaint with a European court over the failure to adequately pay Defence Forces' staff for overtime compared to the rest of the public sector.

The move was announced by Gerard Guinan, the general secretary of PDForra, which represents 6,500 enlisted personnel.

His association and Raco, which represents 1,100 officers, have submitted a joint complaint on the lack of overtime payments which they claim is in breach of the European Social Charter.

Some personnel have to serve mandatory 24-hour shifts. They get paid normal pay for the first eight hours, but just €56 before tax for an additional 16 hours.

Mr Guinan told delegates attending PDForra’s annual conference in Ballybofey, Co Donegal, that the Government must alter the terms of the Defence Forces conciliation and arbitration scheme which denies them the right to seek payments for hours that would, in the rest of the public sector, be classed as overtime.

“While the recent Commission on the Future of the Defence Forces addressed the area of pay structuring, it was prohibited from engaging on the issue of pay rates. 

"As a consequence, citizens will have watched as both representative bodies were forced to highlight their grievances on allowances through the media as a result of deployment to Dublin Airport. Our association simply wants a fair rate of allowance for additional hours worked above the normal routine,” Mr Guinan said.

He said it was “becoming far too frequent” that his association was having to highlight in the media the issue of allowances that would normally be considered overtime by workers outside of the Defence Forces.

“Our lodgement of a complaint under Articles 2.1,.2.2, 4.1.and 4.2 of the European Social Charter is an effort to highlight and address the inequitable allowance system that governs payments to members of the Defence Forces,” he said.

Mr Guinan claimed the lack of an appropriate allowance system coupled with the failure to implement the Working Time Directive across the army, naval service and air corps in a fair manner has had consequences.

Dysfunctional turnover rates

He said this had resulted in dysfunctional turnover rates and inability to recruit personnel in sufficient numbers.

“No singing and dancing campaign is going to turn that around,” he said in reference to one of the recruitment adverts which has a Riverdance theme.

Members of the Defence Forces are being increasingly forced to work additional hours to plug gaps as they are about 1,300 personnel short of what is supposed to be their minimum strength.

Raco has previously claimed some junior officers are double and even treble-jobbing as a result of this and regularly find themselves putting in 60- and 70-hour working weeks.

The complaint has been lodged on the two representative associations' behalf with the European Committee of Social Rights by the European Organisation of Military Associations and Trade Unions (Euromil).

PDForra and Raco previously highlighted the disparity of treatment on overtime between the Defence Forces and other public sector workers to the Public Service Pay Commission in 2018 and the Commission on Defence in 2021.

In its complaint, Euromil said it was regrettable neither the Public Service Pay Commission or the Commission on Defence had addressed the matter in a substantive way.

However, Euromil did acknowledge the Commission on Defence had said it is imperative to remove the "free labour" aspect of military life.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Text header

From florist to fraudster, leaving a trail of destruction from North Cork, to Waterford, to Clare, to Wexford and through the midlands ... learn how mistress of re-invention, Catherine O'Brien, scammed her way around rural Ireland.

Let Me Tell You

Let Me Tell You is a new bespoke podcast series from 

Logo IE

Hosts Daniel McConnell and Paul Hosford take a look back at some of the most dramatic moments in recent Irish political history from the unique perspective of one of the key players involved.

Bespoke political podcast series from

Logo IE
War_map
Execution Time: 0.215 s