Four unions vote to accept new public pay agreement

Four further public service unions have backed the new public service pay agreement, which is now set for formal ratification by a significant majority.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) backed the deal by a margin of 75% to 25%.

The INMO says it will now seek immediate engagement with the Public Service Pay Commission to address its priority concern regarding staff recruitment and retention difficulties in the health sector.

In a statement, the INMO said that it had obtained a “clarification” that the PSPC will issue its first modular report on nursing/midwifery in the second quarter of 2018.

General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said members clearly expect that pay-related measures to address the recruitment and retention crisis will be brought forward and implemented during the lifetime of the agreement.

The INMO will also be insisting that the Department of Health and the HSE implement their funded workforce plan for this year – which stipulates that all vacancies must be filled and permanent full-time contracts must be offered to all members on panels, and all 2016/2017 graduates.

Lower-paid civil servants belonging to the Civil Public and Services Union have also accepted the deal by a margin of 72 to 28%.

However, CPSU General Secretary Eoin Ronayne warned that if the economy improves further, his union would be seeking an early renegotiation of the agreement.

He also said that they would continue to campaign for the elimination of the additional unpaid hours imposed during the economic crisis.

Meanwhile, the Irish Medical Organisation backed the deal by a margin of 85% to 15%.

However, IMO President Dr Ann Hogan said members continued to have serious concerns about the crisis regarding recruitment and retention of doctors in public health services.

She said that even since the pay agreement was negotiated, the lack of planning in relation to medical manpower had been exposed by an over-reliance on locum doctors, and what she called the “scandalous” situation where almost 400 consultant posts were vacant.

And the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) has also backed the new public service pay deal by 93% to 7%.

Joan Donegan, General Secretary of IFUT, said: “IFUT negotiated a number of additional and ancillary agreements and understandings at the talks, on issues directly affecting third-level education and this had played a significant part in the outcome of the vote.”

So far the following unions have backed the deal: SIPTU, IMPACT, the INMO, the IMO, lower-paid civil servants belonging to the CPSU, the IFTU, the Public Service Executive Union, the Prison Officers Association, the Association of Higher Civil and Public servants, the Medical Laboratory Scientists Association, the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union, Veterinary Ireland, the Builders and Allied Trades Union, the Veterinary Officers Association, and the plasterers’ union OPATSI.

Only three have rejected it: the INTO, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland and Unite.

The result of the ballot by the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland will not be completed until October – but its leadership is recommending rejection.

Other representative bodies outside the Irish Congress of Trade Unions which still have to accept or reject the agreement include the Garda Representative Association, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, the Psychiatric Nurses Association, and the bodies representing the Defence Forces.

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