Statement from Minister Donohoe on the INMO decision to ballot for Industrial Action

20th November, 2018

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, T.D. today (Monday), expressed his disappointment on behalf of the Government that the INMO is proceeding with balloting its members on the taking of strike action.

Minister Donohoe said: “Any such action by front line staff in support of a pay claim will impact negatively on our health services and those who depend on them. The pursuit of cost increasing pay claims and engagement in industrial action are both specifically excluded under the terms of the Public Service Pay and Stability Agreement (PSSA 2018 – 2020) – a collective agreement to which the INMO and its members currently subscribe to.

“Concession of any such pay claim, which has been costed at up to €300m p.a. would compromise public pay and budgetary policy and would also generate follow on claims from the rest of the public service workforce, where there are already other known pay grievances.
“The PSSA is delivering wage increases of 6.4% to 7.2% over 2018 to 2020 and is weighted toward the lowest paid.  Increases for post-2013 members of the Single Pension Scheme are worth over 10%.
“On top of the pay increases provided under the PSSA, last September agreement was reached with staff interests on proposals relating to the so-called “new entrant pay” issue.  This would deliver an average of an additional €3,000 over the coming years starting in March next year to over 60,000 post-2011 new entrants, including 10,000 nurses.
“In addition, the Public Service Pay Commission completed its examination of recruitment and retention issues for nurses in August and found that nursing numbers have increased steadily since 2013 by an average of 2.2% per year (752 whole time equivalent staff). The Commission also recommended a 20% increase in the Location and Qualification Allowances for nurses and accelerated promotion for nurses to the senior staff nurse level. Subject to acceptance, these measures will be implemented from March 2019 at a cost of €20m per annum.
“Implementation of the terms of the PSSA  will cost €1.1bn out to 2021, New Entrant measures from which some 10,000 nurses will benefit will cost €200m, while the nurse specific recommendations of the Pay Commission will cost a further €20m p.a. In this context, the pursuit of an additional cost increasing pay claim, supported by potential strike action, not only directly conflicts with the terms of the PSSA to which the INMO and its members currently subscribe to, but seeks to deliver unsustainable wage demands which can only compromise public pay and budgetary policy”.