Sinn Féin’s Defence spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said this morning that a Sinn Féin Government would set up a pay review commission on Defence Forces Pay within six months.
Outlining a package of measures on pay and conditions in the Defence Forces, Teachta Ó Snodaigh said we have to end the scandal of poverty wages in the Defence Forces.
“In recent years there has been a decline in Defence Forces numbers, a marginalising of the Reserve Defence Forces, and a declining morale among members, due in no small measures to government cuts and the lack of appropriate pay and conditions.
“The scandal of poverty pay for our Defence Forces must be brought to an end and Sinn Féin in Government would set up a review commission on Defence Forces Pay within six months.
“Sinn Féin would also give our Defence Forces to right to collective bargaining on pay, terms and conditions and to affiliate with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
“We would increase numbers in the Defence Forces year on year to rebuild to a baseline figure of 9,500 members.
“Successive Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil led governments have treated the Defence Forces with a lack of respect leading to disgraceful situations where personnel are having to sleep on ships to save on rent or take out second jobs and personal loans to cover basic living requirements.
“This cannot be allowed to continue and a Sinn Féin Government would restore the respect that our Defence Forces deserve by introducing a package of measures to strengthen pay and conditions.”
Sinn Féin’s proposals include:
» Setting up a pay review commission on defence members pay in the first six months of a new Government tasked with establishing fair renumeration for the defence forces.
» Roll out a plan for the implementation of the Organisation of Working Time Act (OWTA) for the Defence Forces
» Giving Defence Forces unions the right to collectively bargain on pay, terms and conditions issues and affiliate to ICTU
» Increasing member numbers year on year to rebuild the Defence Forces to a baseline figure of 9,500 members.
» Introducing a capital investment programme for upgrading of current barracks infrastructure prioritising living quarters from the outset.
» Allowing for a voluntary extension period of up to five years subject to a fitness to serve criteria allowing Defence Forces members to serve beyond the current age limit.
» Initiate a root and branch review of the current Department of Defence and instigate reforms to improve the working relationship between the Department and the defence forces structures and particularly around responsibility for budget spending.
» Immediately draw up a plan of action to help alleviate and address the ongoing health problems of Defence Forces personnel suffering as a result of being forced to take the anti-malaria drug Lariam.
» Automatically granting a medical card to any Defence Forces member who has to leave the force due to a medical condition.