RE: GOVERNMENT PROPOSAL TO EXTEND CROKE PARK AGREEMENT AND TALKS ON ACHIEVING FURTHER SAVINGS FROM THE PAY BILL

By PDFORRA 1

RE: GOVERNMENT PROPOSAL TO EXTEND CROKE PARK AGREEMENT AND TALKS ON ACHIEVING FURTHER SAVINGS FROM THE PAY BILL

FROM: GENERAL SECRETARY ON 25 JANUARY 2013

FAO: ALL PDFORRA MEMBERS

Over the past two years the membership of PDFORRA has been operating within the Croke Park Agreement. The basic terms of the Agreement are that there will be no compulsory redundancies and no further cuts in pay while it remains in place. In return PDFORRA members have conceded a number of measures to deliver a smaller and more cost effective organisation. This has seen many members suffer significant financial cost through, for example, redeployment following reorganisation. In PDFORRAs view nothing further should be sought from soldiers, sailors and aircrew with many on low pay and reliant on FIS.

Despite this the Government has declared that the Public Service, including the Defence Forces, must reduce its pay bill by a further €1 billion over the next three years on top of the savings planned under the Croke Park Agreement.  This figure represents an average 6.6% of pay in respect of each Public Servant including members of the Defence Forces. In pursuit of its objectives, the Government has invited all Public Service trade unions and associations to talks on how such savings might be achieved. On this occasion the Government’s position has been to say that core pay will be protected but they have not been explicit on its definition.

Government spokesmen have indicated that if the savings are not achieved through discussions they will secure them by other means. The Government has already cut the pay of soldiers, sailors and aircrew in 2010 – and applied a pension related deduction in 2009 the equivalent of a substantial pay cut. It is likely that should talks fail to secure the projected further savings they will be achieved in a similar manner on this occasion.

The Government representatives have outlined an extensive agenda within which it is proposed to secure the savings of €1 billion and also longer term measures. The Government proposals are grouped as follows:

  • EFFICIENCY, PRODUCTIVITY AND CASH      SAVING MEASURES: eg      increased working hours of up to 5 hours per week; 8.00 – 20.00 hrs      attendance as standard day and 5/7 and 6/7 attendances and cuts to      overtime and premium rates etc

LONG TERM SUSTAINABILITY MEASURES ON      SERVICE DELIVERY:      e.g. re-deployment and within parameters outside the 45 km limit; exit      arrangements; increased spans of control; review of flexi-time and      consideration of the numbers of grades etc.

OVERALL PAY AND PENSIONS BILL: e.g. elimination of increments,      review of allowances, pension proposals and pay reductions at certain      levels etc.

The Government appears to be totally committed to achieving savings of €1 billion and it is therefore necessary to emphasise that the threat to existing pay and conditions is very real if they proceed to act unilaterally. It is only necessary to consider the pension levy and pay cuts to date to see how they could act.

PDFORRA does not agree that additional savings should be sought from the pay packets of soldiers, sailors and aircrew. However, given the prospect of potential pay cuts being again applied unilaterally by Government to our already financially challenged membership – PDFORRA finds itself with little choice but to engage in negotiations with the representatives of Government to explore the options of achieving the savings sought through measures that might be more acceptable to the membership. This will be a very difficult task given the previous pay cuts and the fact that members of the Defence Forces receive very little by way of premium payments. Given the alternative PDFORRA is duty bound to try and negotiate the least painful way of achieving the savings sought by Government.

Given the resolve of Government on this matter PDFORRA will reluctantly engage in negotiations to protect the valuable aspects of pay and conditions and will explore positions which may make this possible. In general, PDFORRA does not accept the applicability of the Government’s proposals to its membership but in the circumstances feels forced to explore alternatives to what may be painful pay cuts.

PDFORRA has a number of objectives which it wishes to see applied in the talks as follows:

Protection of basic pay and allowances      in the nature of basic pay

 Account to be taken of circumstance of      those on FIS and 10% less pay

 No compulsory redundancies

Some measures to assist in      implementing the re-organisation

Upward extension of service limits for      post-1st Jan 1994 entrants

 Savings achieved through reductions in      numbers

 If the National Executive is of the opinion that it is possible to negotiate a more acceptable way of achieving savings from the pay bill any proposals will be the subject of widespread consultation with the membership and the final decision will be made by ballot. Regular updates on the negotiations will be distributed to keep members informed of developments.

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