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Benchmarking - The Facts. 05/04/07

JOINT PRESS RELEASE, Thursday, 5th April 2007

Numerous agreements reached, without breaking the benchmarking process, to address issues and anomalies for other grades, groups and categories throughout the public service.

The Irish Nurses Organisation and Psychiatric Nurses Association reject the frequently stated assertion, by government and health employers, that “benchmarking is the only game in town” and there is no other way to address the insulting pay anomaly, which has existed for six years, affecting nurses and midwives.

The INO/PNA would remind the public that there are three ways of determining public sector pay as follows:

  • review body for higher grades in the public service;  
  • Labour Court assessment of analogue agreements (parallel benchmarking); and 
  • benchmarking.

Both unions also point out that while they, on behalf of nurses and midwives, have met a stubborn refusal, from employers, to creatively address this pay anomaly claim, these same employers, when dealing with other public service grades, groups and categories, have agreed interim arrangements, which have been accommodated, acknowledged or confirmed within the benchmarking process, to address various issues.

The attached briefing document provides details on just a sample of these arrangements/settlements and covers should wide ranging groups as:

  • senior health service managers;  
  • radiographers; 
  • clerical and managerial staff in the Revenue Commissioners; 
  • clerical and executive grades in government departments; and  
  • prison officers in the prison service.

Speaking this lunchtime INO General Secretary, Liam Doran said:

“It is simply incorrect to say that ‘Benchmarking is the only game in town’.

Health employers themselves have agreed arrangements, with entire grades, to address issues and anomalies which arose from the first benchmarking exercise and/or other difficulties facing specific categories of workers.

It is grossly unfair, misleading, mischievous and disingenuous to suggest that nurses and midwives are looking for “special treatment”.  Against the background of the many groups and issues, which have been addressed creatively and imaginatively in the past three years, it is wholly legitimate for us to argue that the same openness and creativity, as promised by the Taoiseach, would be applied to this pay anomaly issue.

It remains our firm conviction that this pay issue can be addressed, in a like manner as the sample cases attached, without, in any way, dismantling the overall public service pay machinery which now exists”.

Mr. Des Kavanagh, General Secretary of the PNA concluded:

“The evidence is clear and the facts are self-evident.  Benchmarking is not the only game in town and management and administrative grades have demonstrated a willingness to look after their own issues while remaining unwilling to look at genuine and legitimate professional issues.

Faced with this evidence the government must look again at their current position and must acknowledge that interim arrangements have been made and, therefore, renewed efforts should be made, with the INO and PNA, to find a way forward on this insulting and injurious pay anomaly”.


    Benchmarking - The Facts - Background



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