Sunday 22 April 2018

Soldiers in line for a pay rise of up to €6,000 a year

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Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Military recruits and privates are to receive a pay rise that will result in a wage increase of up to €6,000 a year at the top of the scale.

The increase results from discussions between the Department of Defence and representative body Pdforra, under the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

The new rates are expected to be announced today by Defence Minister Paul Kehoe and comes amid growing unrest within the military over pay.

Over the past few years, hard-hit soldiers have qualified for family income supplements because they could not survive financially on their wage packets. A long commute to work for many soldiers, arising from the closure of some barracks, has added to the financial hardship, according to Pdforra.

A wives and partners support group has been lobbying the Government to deal with the plight of the military.

Recent figures from the CSO showed that military personnel were at the bottom of the public worker pay scale.

The new pay scale, which is backdated to July 1, 2016, will apply to general service recruits and privates who joined the Defence Forces since the start of 2013. When combined with other increases paid recently under Lansdowne Road, the troops will be given a rise of between 8pc and 14pc, depending on their point in the pay scales.

In real terms, according to Mr Kehoe, this will mean that recruits will get a gross pay rise of more than €38 per week for their 17 weeks of training and around €78 per gross pay week for private two stars during their 12 weeks' training.

Mr Kehoe said that when added to the military service allowance, private three stars, who joined since 2013, would receive an extra €2,000 to €6,000 per year. The rises will also apply to new recruits starting their careers.

Mr Kehoe said the Government was committed to the implementation of Lansdowne Road, which allowed for a programme of pay restoration for all public servants, including members of the Defence Forces.

"It recognises the contribution made by public servants during the economic crisis to restoring the public finances and ensures greater pay increases for the lower paid, who are usually new entrants," he said.

Mr Kehoe said the pay deal followed extensive talks between his department officials, Pdforra and the Department of Public Expenditure.

The new pay scales, he said, were in addition to recent increases of 2.5pc from January last year on annualised salaries of up to €24,000; and 1pc for salaries between €24,000 and €31,000. These were paid in July.

An increase of €1,000 dating back to April on salaries of up to €65,000 was also paid in recent weeks.

Irish Independent

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