Cuts to garda overtime and premium pay considered

Updated: Friday, 01 Feb 2013 23:11

RTÉ News has seen details of the payroll savings that the Department of Justice is seeking from members of An Garda Síochána to try to reduce the payroll bill by €60m over the next three years.

The proposals include cuts in overtime, premium payments and weekend and holiday payments, including making Good Friday a standard working day.

The savings form part of the additional €1bn in payroll cuts, which the Government is seeking by the end of 2015.

As with all other public servants, gardaí may be asked to work an extra hour a day. However, cash savings from this measure are not specified.

Three scenarios for cutting overtime are outlined.

One option would see all overtime paid at flat rate, which could yield €16m a year.

A standard working day of 8am to 8pm would save €5.7m a year, while €9.7m is targeted from premium allowances.

Cutting allowances for working Saturdays would save €4.3m, while halving Sunday and public holiday pay would reduce payroll by over €31m.

Cutting night duty payments could deliver €13m in savings. If Good Friday was treated as a standard working day, that alone would save €1.4m annually.

The department said a range of payroll savings were under discussion, and the savings sought are additional to any savings factored into current budgets.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said: "In common with every part of the public sector, a range of payroll savings measures are being discussed with associations representing members of An Garda Síochána.

"The talks are at an early stage and I would encourage all the public service Unions and staff associations to engage constructively in the dialogue being facilitated by the Labour Relations Commission."

The General Secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors has rejected the payroll reduction proposals.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, John Redmond warned that members may look at industrial action if legislation is passed to cut their pay or allowances.

He suggested that savings could be made in other areas and proposed looking at the €80m budget for overtime, or the introduction of a career break incentive.

"It's unfair and disingenuous for the Taoiseach to shake a big stick over our members," he said.

"They can't take any more. They've taken 25% cuts, this represents a 7% cut across the board and our members are at the pin of their collar to pay their bills at the moment."

The AGSI has already walked out of the Croke Park Agreement talks.

The Garda Representative Association will decide its position on Monday.