Treatment of Defence Force members 'Penny Wise and Pound Foolish' – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD
Sinn Féin Defence spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called on the Government to introduce measures to address the concerns of the Defence Forces in the upcoming Budget.
Speaking today during Leader’s Questions this afternoon, Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:
“Members of the Defence Forces have been consistently sidelined in public service pay negotiations, are being excluded from trade union membership or affiliation with ICTU, and are legally prevented from public demonstration or protest over terms and conditions.
“Recently, PDFORRA was forced to go to the High Court in order to vindicate the right of defence force members to the provisions of the Working Time Directive.
“They were forced to go to the European Committee on Social Rights to vindicate their right to collective bargaining over working terms and conditions.
“The fact that members of the Defence Forces have had to fight this government tooth and nail here at home and in Europe to have basic working rights recognised is an absolute disgrace.
“What is even more disgraceful is the fact that this Government has still not taken action to implement these decisions.
“We expect the Defence Forces to lose up to 700 members this year – many to the private sector for better pay and working conditions.
“The state now had to outsource a contract for the provision of an air ambulance service costing the state millions, because the Air Corps no longer has the capacity to provide this service and more.
“This is penny wise and pound foolish.
“Sinn Féin has introduced legislation to the Dáil to give effect to the right of members of the Defence Forces to engage in collective bargaining and we are calling on the Government to give effect to this right without delay.
“I am also calling on the Government to explain the delay in the completion of the submission to the Public Service Pay Commission on Defence Force issues.
“This report is due by the end of the year and is unlikely to be completed on time due to this delay.
“The Government must also make a commitment to address issues affecting the Defence Forces in Budget 2019.”