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NTMA and NAMA staff will lose exemption from new public pay cuts

Some staff at the NTMA refused to take voluntary pay cuts – so now the agency will be liable to mandatory deductions.

Michael Noonan had been unable to convince all NTMA staff to take voluntary pay reductions - so now NTMA workers will lose their exemptions from across-the-board cuts.
Michael Noonan had been unable to convince all NTMA staff to take voluntary pay reductions - so now NTMA workers will lose their exemptions from across-the-board cuts.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

STAFF AT THE National Treasury Management Agency and its subsidiaries, including NAMA, will lose their exemption from public pay cuts under the latest legislation to cut public pay.

Staff at the NTMA and its subsidiaries, including NAMA and the National Pensions Reserve Fund, have enjoyed a specific legal exemption from the proposed pay cuts since the first legislation enforcing emergency pay cuts was enrolled in 2009.

However, the latest update to the ‘Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest’ legislation, published this afternoon in tandem with the new public sector pay proposals, removes the exemption – meaning NTMA and NAMA staff will be subject to the same pay cuts as others.

The exemption follows unsuccessful attempts by the government to have the agency’s highest-earning staff take voluntary pay cuts.

Last month Michael Noonan confirmed that three staff at the NTMA would not be following their colleagues in taking a voluntary 15 per cent pay cut – even though the NTMA chief executive John Corrigan, and NAMA chief Brendan McDonagh, were taking voluntary cuts.

Earlier this month Noonan added that he did not plan to hold any further consultations on staff pay, all but affirming that the government had abandoned any hope of encouraging the highest staff to take voluntary cuts.

The current government introduced a €200,000 pay cap for any public workers shortly after coming into office – but says it is legally unable to change the contracts of existing staff.

The voluntary pay cuts are now likely to be reduced, to take into account the legal deductions to the pay of top staff, though the net effect will be that top earners – who had refused to take 15 per cent pay cuts – will now lose 10 per cent of their gross wage.

The Railway Procurement Agency is also removed from the list of state agencies whose staff enjoy exemptions from the pay cuts.

Other agencies whose workers retain an exemption include the airport authorities for Dublin, Cork and Shannon, CIE, the ESB, RTÉ and Coillte.

The legislation published today also ensures that members of the judiciary and of the Oireachtas will face pay cuts equal to those of others on the public payroll.

Read: Here’s what’s contained in the new ‘Haddington Road’ public pay deal

More: The NAMA advisors who work for free cost €23,000 last year

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Gavan Reilly

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