Longer working week means premium pay will be retained
NURSES are to work a longer working week in return for a range of concessions, including the retention of premium pay at double time, under the revised Croke Park II proposals.
It will see nurses who reduced their working week to 37.5 hours, after industrial action in recent years, return to working 39 hours.
Nurses will retain premium pay for working Sundays and bank holidays but will lose the twilight allowance from six to 8pm, which was worth around 2.5pc of pay for nurses who work 24/7.
Commenting on the proposals, Des Kavanagh of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA), said they regard the longer working week as a temporary solution for now and it will have to be looked at again.
"It is an ache that will have to be addressed in the coming years. It is a temporary contribution to the economy now," he said.
"After Croke Park II nurses were facing cuts of 11.5pc in their pay. Now they are facing a 2.5pc pay cut and another hour-and-half in the working week . . . there is now more fairness in the cuts."
He said one of the gains meant that from January 1 next every existing staff nurse working in an acting capacity for two years would be appointed to the post.
Separately, the senior staff nurse grade, which rewards nurses with 20 years' service, will be restored from July 1. It will see around 1,500 nurses get a 5pc pay increase.
Nurses earning over €65,000 will have their pay cut, but it will be restored by half in nine months and fully by the end of the agreement.
The salary for graduate nurses, which was controversially set at 80pc of the normal starting rate for a two-year contract, will rise to 85pc in the first year and 90pc in year two.