Review will protect FGE incomes if Croke Park is accepted

29th March 2013

A review aimed at protecting FGE grades from the negative effects of increased hours, the allowance review and changes in overtime rates, is to go ahead if the Croke Park deal is accepted in the ballot currently underway.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has met IMPACT and confirmed that service officer pay structures will be reviewed if the Croke Park ballot is passed.

The review is needed because changes to overtime calculations under a new Croke Park agreement would otherwise hit FGE grades harder than similar workers in local authorities and health.

IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody urged FGE members to back the new Croke Park proposals to ensure their incomes were protected. He said services officers and other FGE grades would otherwise “be in an extremely vulnerable situation” because there will be no review if the Croke Park package is rejected. This “would have a catastrophic effect on FGE members’ earnings,” he said.

“For this reason and others, the IMPACT executive is recommending a yes vote. As general secretary of IMPACT, I have assured the FGE branch of the union’s full support on the pay review process as a means of seeking to address and resolve the low pay issue for FGE grades,” he said.

IMPACT wants the review of service officer pay structures to address and resolve problems arising from the specific overtime terms of the new Croke Park package. In a letter to FGE members, Shay Cody said: “We have made it clear to management that we are seeking the totality of service officer payroll costs to be protected in any new pay structure agreed for service officers.”

The union says the review of allowances currently underway also allows IMPACT to seek to integrate service officers’ allowances into core pay as part of the review. This is because a recent Labour Court recommendation – which is noted in the new Croke Park proposals – says pensionable allowances that relate to the normal duties of a grade “might reasonably be regarded as part of normal pay. In such cases the most appropriate mode of eliminating the allowance may be to incorporate it into core pay.”

The Labour Court also said allowances that relate to particular duties should remain if those functions are still being done. “This view of the Labour Court will be of considerable assistance to the union in the forthcoming review as it will enable us to seek to integrate allowances into the normal core pay of the grades,” said Cody.