The Fair Defence Pay Campaign

About the campaign

EUROMIL observed in recent years, but most notably in the first half 2019 that military personnel’s salaries and allowances, linked to working conditions and problems with recruitment and retention are high on the agenda of almost all its members.

The continued decreasing of defence budgets in recent years has affected military salaries and allowances in a negative way in many countries. Military personnel all over Europe had to learn that their salaries and allowances had either been frozen or even decreased. In addition, due to a lack of available funds, equipment and working conditions in many European militaries deteriorated.
It is only in the past months that governments started to increase defence budgets and thus lifted the freezing of salaries and allowances.

Knowing that an increase in defence budgets alone does not necessarily mean an increase of salaries and allowances of military personnel, EUROMIL decided to launch a campaign, using the momentum of slight increases in defence budgets to demand investment in military personnel and raise awareness about the current situation.

During the campaign, EUROMIL will advocate for military personnel to receive at least a salary which is comparable to the levels of payments in public services. Acknowledging, that different levels of salaries are existing throughout European states, EUROMIL calls for the salaries of military personnel in every European state to be at least equal to the salaries of public sector workers in comparable positions and sectors in the same European state.

Furthermore, EUROMIL believes that poor payment is a major challenge for the recruitment of new armed forces personnel. In increasing the salaries, the attractiveness of the military career could be increased, more personnel could be recruited and with less open vacancies the workload could be shared more equally, thus making the armed forces and interesting employer.

Country profiles

It is not easy to compare salaries throughout European countries for several reasons. The standards of living differ in the different European countries, the tax systems are different and the rationale how military promotions work, and salaries are raised differ. With the figures below, we try to give an indication of what the situation is like, but the reader needs to take the difficulties mentioned above into account.

Ireland
Ireland (status August 2019, answered by PDFORRA and RACO)

1. Basic gross salary of a soldier joining the armed forces: * Privates have a starting pay of 27,913.16 Euro gross before taxes and charges*
2. Basic gross salary of a soldier/corporal leaving the armed forces after a full military career: Currently, the top of the scale private will earn 36,816 Euro +allowances. A Corporal at the top of the scale earns 39,337 Euro gross*
3. Basic gross salary of a sergeant NCO: 37,631.69 Euro gross before taxes and charges*
4. Basic gross salary of the highest NCO rank leaving the armed forces after a full military career: 54,612.10 Euro gross before tax and charges*
5. Basic gross salary of an officer in the rank of Lieutenant: Depending on qualification/type of appointment starting pay = 35,868 Euro to 42,936 Euro. The maximum ranges from 45,915 Euro to 78,239 Euro. A Military Service Allowance of 4,730 Euro is also payable to all.* 
6. Basic gross salary of an officer who was just promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel: Depending on qualification type of appointment starting pay 72,000 Euro to 105,100 Euro. The maximum ranges form 80,250 Euro to 113,860 Euro. A Military Service Allowance of 5,106 Euro is also payable to all.*
7. Compared to similar functions in the public sector, are military personnel payed more or less than civilian state employees with comparable qualifications and tasks? This is a complex question when hours worked are considered. In certain circumstances far less in other circumstances comparable. However, the nature of military duties- responsibilities must also be considered when making any determination. 85% of Irish Defence Force personnel are paid less than the public sector norm. Average salaries in the Irish Defence Force is 39K Euro whereas it is 45K Euro in the rest of the public sector.
8. When where the military salaries raised or lowered for the last time? Following a series of cuts ranging (20-25%) from 2009 to 2012 pay is being gradually restored. The latest increase is due (1.75%) on the 31 Sep 2019. By the end of the current pay agreement (Dec 2020), approximately 90% of all public employees will have their pay restored to 2008 levels. The last increases occurred in 2018 – 1% increase in annualised all salaries from 01 Jan 2018 and 1% increase in annualised all salaries from 01 Oct 2018.
9. Does your association have a say when it comes to negotiating salaries and allowances (i.e. how are salaries determined: by the parliament, by the government, after or without consultation / negotiation of military associations and trade unions?)? PDFORRA: Generally, negotiations take place centrally with our Association being effectively excluded. the recent pay recommendation by the Public Sector Pay Commission was completed on the basis of submissions by the parties and without negotiation. RACO: Technically both RACO and PDFORRA attend national pay talks. But due to the complete dominance of the Public Sector Unions with a right to strike, it is RACO experience that we get very little if any traction at national pay talks. In essence, whatever general pay award is to be awarded, will also be applied to military personnel. But individual unions have secured further increases by means of ‘side-deals’ with their local management which are then revealed and endorsed as part of the overall national pay agreement. The lack of side-deals for commissioned officers has resulted in RACO seeking the setting up of an independent statutory (annual) Pay Review Body (a la the UK’s AF-PRB) rather than a right to strike).

*It should be noted that public sector employees pay a 10% levy from all salaries as a pension contribution.

Portugal
Portugal (status September 2019, answered by ANS, AOFA and AP)

1. Basic gross salary of a soldier joining the armed forces: * 583,56€ + 147,76€ = 731,34€
2. Basic gross salary of a soldier/corporal leaving the armed forces after a full military career:  837,60€ + 198,56€ = 1.036,16€ (Contracted Corporal after six years of service);
1.458,94€ + 322,83€ = 1.781,77€ (Professional Senior Corporal after 40 years of service – only in the Navy).
3. Basic gross salary of a sergeant NCO: 1.252,97€ + 281, 63€ = 1.534,60€ (OR-5)
4. Basic gross salary of the highest NCO rank leaving the armed forces after a full military career: 1.922,37€ + 415,51€ = 2.337,88€ (OR-9)
5. Basic gross salary of an officer in the rank of Lieutenant: 1.510,43€ + 313,13€ = 1.823,56€
6. Basic gross salary of an officer who was just promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel: 2.540,27€ + 539,09€ = 3.079,36€
7. Compared to similar functions in the public sector, are military personnel payed more or less than civilian state employees with comparable qualifications and tasks? It is rather difficult to establish a comparison with the majority of the cases. However, in general, the military personnel are payed less than some comparable functions in the public sector.
8. When where the military salaries raised or lowered for the last time? On 1 January 2010 (after Law Decree 296/2009, 14Oct)
9. Does your association have a say when it comes to negotiating salaries and allowances (i.e. how are salaries determined: by the parliament, by the government, after or without consultation / negotiation of military associations and trade unions?)?  Our associations do not negotiate with the government when salaries are determined. We do not take part in any collective negotiation with binding agreements.

*Note: The Gross Salaries here referred are per month

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