Army Wins the War on Wages; Soldiers, Sailors & Pilots to Get [Euro]10m Salaries Boost; but Concern Offer Won't Halt Exodus of Personnel

The Mirror (London, England), July 3, 2019 | Go to article overview

Army Wins the War on Wages; Soldiers, Sailors & Pilots to Get [Euro]10m Salaries Boost; but Concern Offer Won't Halt Exodus of Personnel


Byline: FERGHAL BLANEY Political Correspondent and SAOIRSE MCGARRIGLE

SOLDIERS, sailors and pilots are to receive [euro]10million worth of pay hikes in a bid to stem a growing crisis in the forces.

A document has been prepared jointly by the Department of Defence and Department of Public Expenditure that will see some members' salaries boosted by [euro]20,000 a year.

The enhanced pay package has been put together to address the worsening problems of recruitment and retention which were becoming a headache for the Government.

At full strength the Defence Forces should have 9,500 personnel. However, present staff levels stand at 8,500.

And last night some suggested the latest settlement may not be enough to stop more troops leaving.

Fianna Fail defence spokesman Jack Chambers told the Irish Mirror: "Will the announcement prevent an increased exodus? "I hope it will. But really I'm not sure how the headline figures will persuade people to stay who are questioning their ongoing service in the Defence Forces."

The proposed deal is due to be discussed at a rescheduled Cabinet meeting tomorrow morning at which ministers are expected to give their support.

It will then be presented to representatives of the Defence Forces in PDFORRA and RACO for agreement.

The rest of the public sector union movement are believed to have been kept onside as the wage hikes are being categorised as allowances and not core earnings.

If gross pay was to be increased, the Government feared the floodgates could open with others - from nurses to teachers to gardai - all queueing up for their piece of the pie.

As it is, the bulk of the [euro]10million bonanza will be going towards the Military Service Allowance, which will see Defence Forces members get between an extra [euro]600 and [euro]675 a year in their pockets.

This 10% hike will eat up [euro]4.8million of the package.

The s e d or Officers and enlisted members can look forward to a tax-free bonus worth between [euro]15,300 and [euro]20,400, depending on rank, for future overseas work.

in the It will be awarded on completion of a six-month peacekeeping tour of duty abroad.

The Government is also moving to plug the exodus of Air Corps pilots who have been leaving in their droves to join private sector airlines.

It is introducing a loyalty programme called the Service Commitment Scheme which will reward those who stay with a bonus worth [euro]18,500.

In addition, the Sunday premium rates are being returned and the 10% cut to allowances made under The Haddington Road Agreement is being restored.

This will see pay increases across an array of allowances, including the Security Duty Allowance, the Patrol Duty Allowance for sailors, the Army Ranger Wing Allowance and the Explosive Ordnance Duty Allowance. …

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