Soldiers slam government department that 'refused to honour' deal for low-paid troops
Soldiers have accused a government department of creating a major breakdown in trust after it refused to honour a new deal for the lowest paid troops in the Defence Forces.
Pdforra, the association representing soldiers, sailors and aircrew, says it reached an agreement with Department of Defence officials on a pay scale which complied with the Haddington Road agreement and continued to deliver on savings.
But to the association's "immense surprise" the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has not sanctioned the deal.
Pdforra general secretary Gerry Rooney said: "The young men and women affected by this dispute earn extremely low initial wages of €21,800 a year.
"Our association is determined to ensure that these fully trained and operational members are treated the same as other entry level public servants".
The row stems from the introduction of a two-tier pay structure for 2013 entrants at private rank.
The dispute is now being examined by the Workplace Relations Commission.
Mr Rooney said: "Access to the facilitation services of the WRC is unprecedented for Pdforra and will hopefully assist in reaching a satisfactory outcome on restoration of pay under Haddington Road.
"Our recently recruited members are being wrongly treated as second class citizens and this is totally unacceptable'.
Mr Rooney accused Public Expenditure of distancing itself from an understanding reached with Defence without explanation.
"This unexplained and unjust attitude is a major breakdown in the trust, which should be an integral part of the negotiation process.
"Pdforra will be continuing its fight on this vitally important issue if a successful outcome cannot be achieved at the WRC", he added.
He said that soldiers who had joined since 2013 were suffering under a totally unjust two-tier pay structure.