Union pledges to do 'whatever we have to' after cuts in allowances announced

Paul Bell

The country's largest union has issued a warning to the Government regarding changes to public-sector allowances.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin announced last night that 88 payments will be scrapped for serving staff.

The full list has not been released, but it is thought to include a Gaeltacht allowance for nurses in Irish-speaking areas and a Locomotive allowance for senior gardaí who use their private cars for work.

They are set be abolished by the end of February.

However, Health Division Organiser at SIPTU Paul Bell said that they will not give up allowances they regard as part of their core salary.

"This is core pay, breach of Croke Park [Agreement], and whatever we have to do to protect our members' pay we will do so," he said.

"If people want to consolidate those allowances into pay, which we asked for many years ago, well then we'll have that discussion.

"But we will not be getting into negotiations where we see the elimination or further cuts in people's salary, that's not where we are and we won't be there."

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