Premium payments bill cut targeted
on 16/02/2013 00:00:00
The Government wants payments for working Sundays to be reduced from double time to time and a half, and "twilight" payments for working between 6pm and 8pm, and additional payments for working Saturdays to be scrapped.
The 24/7 Frontline Alliance has said the 70,000 gardaí, nurses, prison officers and other emergency staff it represents will take action if the cuts go ahead.
They are due to hold a mass rally in Tallaght on Monday evening to protest against the impact the cuts will have on incomes.
The Government has also confirmed to unions that it wants reductions in higher pay and pensions to contribute to the total €1bn in savings it is seeking. There has been speculation that staff earning over €65,000 will be asked to move down a pay grade and those earning over €100,000 will simply have their pay cut.
A longer working week also remains on the Government wish list, though unions remain adamant that a five-hour increase will not form part of any agreement which their members would vote to accept.
Savings will also come from the "accelerated reduction" in the number of people employed in the public service, with that reduction expected to come from voluntary departures.
Yesterday afternoon talks began on a sectoral basis, starting in the health sphere. The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation which represents 40,000 nurses is a leading player in the 24/7 Frontline Alliance and has previously said it will not remain in the process if the Government persists in attempting to cut its members' take-home pay. The union said last night it will remain in the talks at this stage.
Senior figures in the Public Services Executive Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions have put their colleagues on notice that while many measures are unpalatable, in the absence of the agreement the Government will still be seeking €1bn in savings and that could lead it to turn to across-the-board pay cuts.