Medical staff demand meeting with union negotiators
on 20/02/2013 00:00:00
"The INMO, together with the Irish Medical Organisation has requested, an early meeting of the full trade union team involved in the talks process," it said. "This is to allow for a detailed debate on the issues that have arisen, in the talks to date, and in particular, the management side's continued demand for a reduction in premium pay rates and the union side's collective response to this. It is expected this meeting will take place within the next two days."
The INMO, which represents 40,000 nurses, has twice threatened to walk away from talks if cuts to premium payments stay on the agenda. Its members, along with gardaí, prison officers and other emergency public service staff, made up the 4,000 people who gathered in Dublin on Monday night for the 24/7 Frontline Alliance protest against the cuts to premium pay.
Yesterday, Impact, one of the country's largest public sector unions rejected suggestions that frontline workers are being "singled out" for excessive cuts. Impact did, however, say premium payments make up a large portion of the public sector pay bill yet they go "almost exclusively" to a small number of groups.
Impact said the Government had sought cuts of €170m from Saturday, Sunday, and evening premium payments, and the union leaders had made it clear they would try to have that figure reduced through the talks.
"But larger or equivalent sums are being targeted in other areas," Impact said. "It has emerged that over €350m - more than a third of the additional €1bn in pay and pension savings sought - is likely to come from those on higher pay, together with an accelerated reduction in public service headcount facilitated by extended working hours."
Impact also pointed out every ICTU-affiliated trade union is involved in the talks.
The issue for emergency staff unions is that, apart from the Prison Officers Association and INMO, all the rest of the unions and associations that make up the 24/7 Frontline Alliance are not affiliated to ICTU. That leaves Garda associations and the Psychiatric Nurses Association with industrial action as the only means by which they can protest against possible cuts.