Well done to last weekend’s Sunday Business Post for exclusively reporting a letter signed by around 200 of NAMA’s 247 staff, addressed to the NAMA board whoses CEO is Brendan McDonagh, in which the staff express deep misgivings about further salary cuts envisioned in the Croke Park 2 agreement. The SBP describes the letter as “angry”
I say “further salary cuts” because NAMA management has already come down hard on bonuses which staff may have had good reason would arise when they joined the Agency. Alas, because the Irish property market has continued to tank, both residential and commercial, NAMA has run up big losses and at the end of 2011, had cumulative losses of €1bn. Along with the malaise with the economy generally, NAMA withdrew bonuses from a group that justifiably sees itself distinct from the civil service generally.
But they’ve had enough.
Following a previous letter circulated by the NTMA CEO John Corrigan to all NTMA staff at the start of March 2013, NAMA staff have revolted or at least written a stiffly-worded letter. The NTMA CEO said in March that NTMA and NAMA staff would be subject to the new Croke Park 2 agreement which means that those on salaries over €65,000 would face a range of cuts starting at 5.5% for the first €80,000 rising to a 10% cut on the excess over €185,000. We know the average NAMA salary is around €100,000 and such salaries would be cut by €6,000 gross under Croke Park 2.
We don’t know how the NAMA board reacted to the letter, but NAMA hardly needs industrial unrest.
We don’t have a copy of the letter, so here’s an educated imagining.
Dear Brendan and the board,
John Corrigan has informed us that we will be subject to the provisions of Croke Park 2 which will mean cuts to salaries over €65,000 starting at 5.5% and rising to 10%.
When we joined in 2010 and 2011, we had expectations of performance related pay and bonuses if we worked hard and did our job well. Instead, NTMA bonuses in 2010 were €1,981,760 for 258 staff falling in 2011 to just €62,610 for 5 staff and €43,100 for 6 staff in 2012. We recognize that NAMA has run up losses but that’s mostly your fault for failing to change the valuation date in 2010 when it was apparent that property prices were still tumbling.
We all risk ending up being profiled and reported in the press. The Paddy McKillen and Treasury Holdings court cases both saw our affidavits published and staff being named in the papers, sometimes in an unjustifiably critical light.
With the country awash with foreign investors seeking local partners, and with asset managers very active in a distressed market where NAMA is but one seller, there is high demand for our knowledge, skills and experience.
You have been a role model with leading from the front and supporting staff, but like you, we face short term careers at NAMA which might end in 2020 if we’re lucky, but could well find ourselves out of a job beforehand if the rump of our assets is disposed of early.
The staff turnover at the NTMA is now beginning to look worrying with 9 staff or 2% of the 500 leaving in January 2013 alone.
We weren’t subjected to cuts and revised public sector conditions in the Croke Park 1 agreement and we have private contracts of employment which set out our agreement salary, so we reserve the right to take legal action if you move to cut our pay.
We’re working hard in a job that is thankless outside these premises, we have skills that are in demand in the private sector which pay premium salaries and bonuses and we are not legally obliged to accept further cuts. We respectfully ask that you liaise with the Minister for Finance to secure an exemption for NAMA.
The boys and girls down in the boiler room