Newspaper article Daily Mail (London)
Byline: Martin Frawley
THE State is facing a [euro]100million payout to clerical staff seeking equal pay with gardai for carrying out the same desk duties.
More than 700 female public servants are paid [euro]14,000 less a year than 350 male gardai, although they perform identical tasks.
After a series of legal battles, the clerical staff's union argued at the European Court of Justice last week that they should get equal pay.
The Civil and Public Services Union said it is quietly confident of a victory, with a representative adding: 'The union's arguments appear to have been accepted.' The European Commission argued on the union's behalf at the hearing, while the Attorney General and Department of Justice rigorously fought it - aware of the massive payout that a loss will bring.
The department contends that the difference in pay is not down to discrimination, and said 200 of the officers use their police powers in clerical duties - powers that the clerical staff don't have.
As well as the 700 staff, the CPSU added 6,500 clerical workers to the claim on the basis that they could be transferred to justice duties. Should they succeed, the 7,200 members will share in a [euro]100million bonanza - which could be even larger if backdated.
A clerical officer is paid up to [euro]36,267 a year while a garda's yearly maximum is [euro]45,800 plus a 'designated post' allowance of [euro]4,800 for doing clerical duties, leaving a gap at the top of [euro]14,000.
While the department accepted that the clerical staff were doing the same work as gardai on civilian duties, it argued that the comparisons used by the union were not representative of An Garda Siochana as a whole.
The department, headed by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, said that the deal to designate a certain number of gardai to clerical duties and pay them an extra allowance was down to an industrial relations agreement with the Garda Representative Association and no discrimination was involved or intended. …