Thousands of civil servants to get additional leave, while some allowances to be restor
The executive of the Irish Nurses and Midwives’ Organisation has deferred until the end of a month a final decision on whether to recommend the proposed pay accord to members in a forthcoming ballot.
In addition, thousands of civil service personnel are to receive additional leave, while a number of allowances are to be restored for some groups of recently recruited employees.
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform also said on Wednesday that prison officers and firefighters are to receive an extra €500 in rent allowance payments. This is similar to the rise in rent allowance secured by gardaí last November in a Labour Court recommendation that averted a threatened strike.
Open recruitment at executive officer level in the civil service is to be scaled back, in a move which would enhance promotional prospects for internal candidates.
The Government’s concessions to a number of public service groups contained in previously undisclosed side agreements are conditional on the draft new public service agreement being accepted by State employees.
The new measures are in addition to the terms of the draft agreement which was negotiated last week.
The department said on Wednesday that radiographers working for the BreastCheck service, who were appointed after 2012, were to receive allowances worth about €4,000 which were abolished in 2011.
Siptu, which represents radiographers, said the allowance was paid in respect of travel to mobile clinics operated by the BreastCheck service.
The Department of Public Expenditure also said that a livestock allowance for certain technical offers in the Department of Agriculture – which is understood to be worth about €3,000 a year – was to be restored for staff appointed after 2012.
It said a tool allowance for craft workers in local authorities, the Office of Public Works and in the health and education sectors was also to be restored for staff appointed after 2012.
The department also said the number of clerical officers in the civil service who are on a higher pay scale is to be increased to 25 per cent by 2019.
The difference in pay between the standard and higher clerical officer rates is about €1,000, depending on where an individual is on the scale.
The department said that at present 15 per cent of clerical officers were on the higher scale.
“Following on from claims submitted to conciliation and arbitration and from discussions at general council, the department has now proposed that this will increase to 20 per cent in 2018 and by a further 5 per cent to 25 per cent in 2019.”
The department also said that from January of next year executive officers would receive one additional leave day after 12 years and another additional leave day after 14 years. This follows a claim brought by their trade union earlier this year.
The department said this provision for additional leave for those with longer service was now to be extended to clerical officers in the civil service.
In another side agreement, the level of open recruitment to executive officer posts in the civil service is to be scaled back.
“The ratio for recruitment at executive officer grade shall be changed from 50 (open): 25 (interdepartmental): 25 (internal) to 40:30:30 for the duration of the agreement,” the department said.
The Government has also formally agreed to the restoration of a number of allowances for recently recruited nurses in keeping with a deal reached at Relations Commission last March which headed off potential industrial action.
The department said the cost of side agreements reached in tandem with the draft public service accord would be less than €10 million.
Meanwhile, nurses said their initial assessment was that improvements in pay and conditions set out in the draft new public service agreement fell short of the requirements to address staff recruitment and retention difficulties.
However, the executive of the Irish Nurses and Midwives’ Organisation has deferred until the end of a month a final decision on whether to recommend the proposed accord to members in a forthcoming ballot.
The union, which represents close to 40,000 nurses, said it was holding off on a final decision to allow for a consultation with key activists and to seek clarification from the Minister for Health on specific proposals in the agreement on recruitment and retention issues.