Following a Special Session of the its Annual Delegate Conference in Galway today (Thursday) the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) said it will ballot for industrial action in the event that the Government moves to implement pay cuts by legislation. The PNA also called on other public service unions to match the threatening rhetoric of Government Ministers to legislate for cuts by balloting for industrial action.
PNA General Secretary, Des Kavanagh said; ‘Those unions who voted ‘No' have warned Government not to legislate for pay cuts. Much more is now required. We must demonstrate our determination to protect our members by moving to ballot for industrial action. This will result in an ‘industrial relations deterrent' to leave Government in no doubt of our preparedness to act forcefully to defend our members'.
Mr. Kavanagh said delegates at Conference were angry at Government Ministers who repeatedly showed that they have no understanding of the difficulties that low and middle income public service families are experiencing.
‘The mood of anger is very clear among delegates and they expressed their commitment to taking whatever action is necessary to oppose the unfair and inequitable cuts in the Croke Park II proposals. That mood can be summed up as - ‘We don't want a strike, we can't afford a strike but we are now at the point where we cannot afford NOT to go on strike if these cuts are implemented by legislation'.
Mr Kavanagh also demanded that any negotiation of a successor to Croke Park I from July 1 st . 2014 must be a broader based discussion inclusive of all parties.
‘The failed negotiation process that resulted in the rejection of Croke Park II was characterised by the absence of key representatives of front line workers. Any future talks on a successor to Croke Park agreement must embrace all trade unions and representative bodies, and must not just be a tweaking of this failed process but a complete review of all options to achieve the savings targeted by Government.'
‘The consistent opposition of PNA to the Croke Park II proposals, and the leadership shown by PNA in the campaign for a NO Vote as part of the 24/7 Alliance was endorsed by the ADC delegates today. However, the delegates are aware that the threat to their earnings has not gone away.'
Des Kavanagh said: ‘Government must take note of the strength of the No Vote in those Unions representing 24/7 Workers. They cannot continue to delude themselves that premiums and allowances are not part of core pay. Any approach which again targets premium pay and allowances automatically results in the inequitable treatment of Front Line 24/7 staff including Nurses, Fire Fighters, Ambulance Paramedics, Gardai, Prison Officers, Child Care Workers, Care Assistants etc. ..
‘Croke Park II threatened our workers with cuts of over 11% while other better paid staff faced much lower cuts. This is unfair and inequitable and this approach must be dropped immediately'.
The ADC continues tomorrow (Friday) and will be addressed by Kathleen Lynch T.D. Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Mental Health and Disabilities at 4.p.m.
Media Contacts : Derek Cunningham 086-2430535