INMO calls for additional funds as public service pay talks resume

Union negotiators have indicated that they expect the talks to conclude by tomorrow

Additional exchequer funding will have to be found to address the recruitment and retention difficulties in the public service, according to the Irish Nurses and midwives Organisation.

Speaking as he arrived for today’s intensive talks on a new public service pay agreement, INMO General Secretary Liam Doran rejected suggestions that special pay awards for nurses and other groups facing staff shortages would mean less pay restoration for other government employees.

He said the Government would have to respond to the labour market reality of staff shortages with additional funding – as they could not have a public service without public servants. .

Mr Doran said the Government would have to use a “wider lens” and more imagination to reflect the labour market difficulties.

He believed a new pay deal can be done, but warned there was still a significant gap between the two sides on issues including pay restoration, pensions, recruitment and retention, and the Government’s “wish-list” on productivity.

Mr Doran said recruitment and retention were not just an INMO issue, and the Government should be coming to unions with measures to address the problem.

IMPACT spokesperson Bernard Harbor said unions would have to see what money was available for any deal before he could assess the likelihood of securing a pay deal in the next 48 hours.

He said they would need to see figures – and that would need to happen by tomorrow if they were going to do a deal.

He said the talks were scheduled for today and tomorrow, but added that it the process runs into Thursday that would be a positive sign.

He said everyone wanted to see things moving quicker than they have done over the last two weeks, and said the ambition was to do it today or tomorrow.

The President of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors Antoinette Cunningham warned that Gardaí would absolutely resist any attempt by the Government to make them pay more for their “fast accrual” pensions, under which they can retire on full pensions without serving the standard 40 years.

The General Secretary of the Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants, which represents senior administrative grades also argued for pay rises, saying salary was an issue in recruiting senior managers for the public service.

Ciaran Rohan said his members would be very unhappy if higher paid grades were left behind, and everyone would have to get something out of the process.

Meanwhile, SIPTU warned that management could forget about what it called its “unrealistic” productivity demands if pay increases were “back-loaded” toward the end of any new pay agreement.

In a bulletin to members, the SIPTU Health Division said all sides had agreed that the talks and entered the endgame, and that the next 48 hours would be crucial, with pay and pensions centre stage.