Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has warned that the financial fallout of giving nurses a pay rise would be higher than the €260m upshot of a garda deal two years ago.
He also said the existing public sector wage agreement could unravel if a 12pc pay claim by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation is entertained.
He was speaking as strike committees for 40,000 nurses are meeting to finalise their plans for a 24-hour stoppage on Wednesday.
“The Government cannot allow the (existing collective) wage agreement to unravel,” Minister Donohoe said.
He said concessions on pay to nurses would prompt further demands, citing a deal on Garda pay two years ago.
“Within one day we had wage demands,” he added.
The fallout costs of conceding to nurses demands will be even higher, he said.
He referred to a €50m pay package that was given to gardaí two years ago to avert an unprecedented strike.
This triggered a knock on claim by unions for the rest of the public service workforce following threats of widespread industrial action.
As a result, public servants got a €1,000 pay rise five months earlier than scheduled at an estimated cost of €260m
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