Prison officers at the Midlands Prison Portlaoise.
All members of the Prison Officers Association in Laois and other counties will fight for fair pay.
That's one of the warnings sent to the Government from the annual delegate conference of the Prison Officers Association (POA) held in Sligo.
Addressing the conference Tony Power President POA, delivered the messaged to the employers “that the entire membership of the POA will fight vigorously for a fair pay increase for Prison Officers”.
“Inflation is clearly being driven by energy costs and transport fuel. Wage increases will not increase the cost of these items, because they are set by global markets outside the State. Over the last year inflation rose by 5½%. Energy and petrol costs rose by 30%.
Mr Power addressed the issue of public sector pay.
"POA members accepted the terms of Building Momentum in January 2021 given the economic circumstances that were in place at that time, viewing this short-term agreement as a sensible way forward taking into consideration the impact of the Global pandemic. However, now some 15 months on there has been a huge economic shift from where we were back in January 2021.
"It has now become very clear that the immediate issue our members face is the impact on living standards from rising inflation. This will not be temporary. The ESRI recently projected that inflation would rise by nearly 12% over this year and next and this could be an under-estimate. If this happens, it will be the largest two-year inflation growth since the 1980s.
"The terms of the current Public Service agreement must be used to deal with the situation we find ourselves in and we must now have pay increases that compensate our members for spiralling inflation. We request and expect your full support Minister as we address this critical pay issue.
He addressed his comments to the Minister of for Justice Helen McEntee who attended the conference.
"A Minister coming to a Conference like this and praising our members for the work they do is of little comfort when we find ourselves in a cost-of-living crisis. Supermarkets or Petrol Stations do not accept praise as a form of payment.
"What is needed is the concern of workers to be heard and met. We are now in a very different space than we were in January 2021 and a pay increase is justifiably needed as inflation continues to spiral out of control. To put it simply - the terms of the 'Building Momentum' agreement will no longer suffice – a pay increase that deals adequately with the spiralling inflation is the only solution,” he concluded.
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