Taoiseach & Minister Mistaken and/or Misguided in Comments on Croke Park Proposals
ATTENTION ALL INMO MEMBERS
I refer again to the continuing public comments, particularly by An Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny TD and Minister Leo VaradkarTD, with regard to the final set of proposals on a possible extension to the Croke Park Agreement.
These public comments, covered in some media outlets, would suggest that members of unions, who withdrew from the process, are now subject to less favourable proposals than others who remained within the process.
This is simply incorrect and is not borne out by any attention to the final set of proposals which are now to be balloted upon.
In this context I would ask you to note the following:
1. Premium Pay
As previously stated the revised, lower, rates of payments, for Sunday (time and three quarters from double time) and twilight (complete abolition) were tabled, as the government’s bottom line, before the INMO, and other representative organisations, withdrew from the process.
- It should be noted that these revised rates, for Sunday and evening working, now form part of the final set of proposals and will apply to all grades, groups and categories of staff, working in the health service i.e. nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants, ward support staff, porters, and ambulance personnel.
- This reality confirms that the management side, in the health sector, was determined to secure pay savings, with sole reference to reducing unsocial hours payments, right across the health sector, and applying them to ALL staff who have to work a shift roster on a 5/7 basis.
2. Senior Staff Nurse/Regularisation of Long-term Actors
It is a fact that the INMO, together with other health sector unions, had, a number of months ago, secured agreement, at the Labour Relations Commission, with health sector management with regard to the re-introduction of the senior staff nurse increment as an integral part of regularising long term actors.
Indeed, as part of the recent discussions, regarding the possible extension to the Croke Park Agreement, the INMO had a meeting, with officials from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Health Service, seeking the immediate implementation of the earlier agreement to fully address these outstanding issues.
However, in response to this demand, the management side indicated that they would only implement the earlier agreement in the context of acceptance of an extension to the Croke Park Agreement.
The INMO has consistently said that this is patently unfair as the senior staff nurse and long term actors issue were completely stand alone and an agreement, which was cost neutral, should be implemented without any caveats or strings attached.
It is essential that members understand that any reference now to progressing the senior staff nurse issue, and regularising all long-term actors, is subject to overall acceptance of the proposals on an extension to the Croke Park Agreement. In other words members would have to vote to cut their pay, with regard to shift payments and increments, in order to have these anomalies corrected. This is a grossly unfair and wholly untenable approach by public sector management.
3. Proposed Nurse/Midwife Graduate Programme
On this issue I would ask you to note the following:
- In recent weeks, and prior to commencing any discussions on an extension to the Croke Park Agreement, the INMO had direct discussions, with the Minister and CEO designate of the HSE, on this issue. This was with a view to significantly revising the proposed programme in a manner which respects the agreed salary scale and offers a meaningful post-graduate educational opportunity;
- while no final agreement was reached some positive progress was being made;
- the matter was then raised as an outstanding issue as part of the recent national discussions. However, the LRC proposals do not contain any reference to this issue; and
- the INMO will continue with the representations we have made, to date, on this critical matter. In addition we have referred this flawed programme to the Labour Relations Commission on 14th February 2013. A date, for conciliation talks at which further progress will hopefully be made, is awaited and expected shortly.
We would again view the resolution of this issue as being separate from, and unrelated to, acceptance/rejection of the Croke Park proposals.
4. Next Steps
In the coming days all INMO members will be notified of details with regard to the following:
- dates, times and venues of multi-union meetings, in towns and cities across the county, where unions, opposed to the proposed agreement, would provide detailed information, to all public servants who wish to attend, as to why the current proposals should be rejected; and
- specific details, for INMO members, with regard to local information meetings, and balloting arrangements, in all workplaces/health centres across the country.
These INMO information and balloting arrangements, with details of exact times, dates and venues being notified to you locally, will take place between Wednesday, 3rd April and Monday, 15th April 2013 (inclusive).
Regardless of what is being said in the media, or what spin is being put on it by any party, nothing can change the fundamental fact that the current proposals are unfair, unbalanced and will result in income reductions for nurses, midwives and all public servants.
It is equally a fact that the proposals are currently crafted to be particularly injurious to staff, of all grades, groups and categories, who have an obligation to work shifts on a 5/7 basis.
Against this stark reality the INMO continues to recommend to all members, in the forthcoming ballot, to vote NO and, in addition, to encourage fellow workers to study the agreement and also to reject it on the basis of its blatant unfairness.
Thank you for your attention to this note which, as always, I would ask you to bring to the attention of all members in your workplace.
This article appeared in the Irish Times on Thursday, 28th March 2013 and was written by our General Secretary Liam Doran on behalf of the Alliance of Public Services Unions for a NO VOTE.
LRC Proposals for the PSA (Croke Park 2): Report on the Impact of Proposed Pay Reduction Measures. For the 24/7 Frontline Services Alliance Staff.
INMO Overview and Initial Analysis of the Labour Relations Commissions Proposals on the Extension of the Public Service Agreement.
The Labour Relations Commission has now issued the proposals with regard to a possible extension to the Croke Park Agreement.