29/01/09 Social Solidarity Talks

Premium pay is paid to Public Service workers who work unsocial hours. Nurses, Doctors, Gardai, Prison Officers, Ambulance Staff, Fire Fighters etc are required to be available for rostering 24x7. This involves our nurses working Bank Holidays, Christmas, New Year,  Easter , working weekends, night shifts etc. For suffering those unsocial shifts we are paid what the Employers estimate on average is 22% on top of our bais pay when the average in the Private Sector is 33%. Now there is speculation that these premiums are being targeted at the Social Solidarity Talks in Government Buildings. This is clearly unacceptable as it targets a group of front line , highly efficient and dedicated Public Service Workers who are only paid this money because of the unsocial, inconvenient nature of their roster.

Comments about protecting core pay are less than reassuring and imply that we are to carry a greater burden than those working Mon. to Fri., 5 day weeks. We who miss out on so many family and social events , who miss out on the opening of Santa's presents and whose  basic pay has historically been reduced because of these premium earnings may now lose some or all of this compensatory payment.

Many public servants so effected will surely declare that those suggesting such cuts should themselves work the unsocial hours and give us a break. Many would insist on action if this threat was to emerge in the final document. However, at this point we must continue to assert that whatever emerges should have universal application and must not be targeted against our front line public servants. Anything less would merely imply a 'dumping on' our various front line disciplines , would force us into dispute and would be in breach of the philosophy of universality underpinning the concept of Social Solidarity.

Members can be assured that we are doing all in our power to ensure our concerns are brought to the attention of all parties associated with these Talks.

Des Kavanagh states 'There is much speculation at present about what might be included in the final package but all parties have been notified that we will resist any attempt to prioritise front line workers to carry a greater burden than everyone else'.


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