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Sunday 17 December 2017

Nurses' union says it will quit talks if pay cuts on agenda

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

ANOTHER public servants' union has threatened to pull out of talks on €1bn savings unless the government drops "an agenda" to cut frontline staff's pay.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) is still at the table at discussions on a new Croke Park deal.

But it warned it will not stay there unless the Government stops being "dictatorial" about cuts.

General Secretary Liam Doran said it backed garda bodies who have already rejected management's demands. He said his union's executive council will meet again after the next meeting with management to decide if it will stay in the process.

"There can be no agreement, acceptable to the INMO, which seeks to impose cuts, or reductions, in existing pay rates, premium pay rates and allowances," he warned.

The Garda Representative Association has already refused to engage in talks while plans to reduce pay or increase hours are still on the cards.

And the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors was the first staff association to walk away from the discussions last month.

The Psychiatric Nurses Association has also said it cannot accept cuts to allowances or premium payments. But the association is not affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and is not involved in the current talks.

However, despite the current turmoil, many unions believe pulling out of the talks is a high-risk strategy.

The Taoiseach has warned that the Government will bring in legislation to cut pay again if public servants do not back a new deal.

SIPTU – which has more public service members than any other union – has written to members warning them that their pay may be cut anyway if €1bn savings are not delivered over the next three years. It said it is at the talks because it wants "to influence the outcome in the best interests of our members".

The talks are due to conclude at the end of this month.

Meanwhile, the executive committee of the 24/7 Frontline Services Alliance, representing frontline workers, will meet today to consider a strategy if the Government continues to seek cuts to payments including premiums and allowances.

A major march is being organised by unions in Dublin this Saturday in protest at the latest round of cutbacks.

Irish Independent

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