Country facing industrial action if Gardaí financially penalised for pay deal refusal

The country could be facing industrial action from gardaí if members of the force are financially penalised for refusing to agree to a pay deal with the Government.

While middle-ranking gardaí agreed at the last minute to advise members to support the new pay deal, rank and file members are still refusing to back it.

In the Dáil, the opposition warned that industrial unrest from the force could be coming down the line.

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said last minute-efforts were being made to get garda representatives on board.

However, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin highlighted that protections in place for some gardaí will expire at midnight tomorrow, where their increments may be frozen and other payments dropped.

The Government says these are not penalties but protections which will no longer cover some unions which refuse to sign up to the new Lansdowne Road Agreement deal after the current Haddington Road deal elapses this week. Speaking at Leaders Questions in the Dáil yesterday, Mr Martin said: “Friday, July 1, is fast approaching and the country could be facing some form of industrial action by An Garda Síochána.”

The Garda Representative Association says a pay review for gardaí was never completed under the former agreement. This is a reason rank and file gardaí will not back the new deal. Gardaí not signed up to the Lansdowne Agreement face the loss of increments this week. Furthermore, secondary school teachers with the ASTI also facing increment freezes, the non-restoration of pay cuts and the non- payment of supervision fees.

The Government can impose significant penalties on gardaí and teachers under legislation known as the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest , a report on which will be submitted to the Dáil today. Public expenditure minister Paschal Donohoe said last night he intends to retain the financial emergency legislation, and that “prudent management of public finances” was still necessary.

Ms Fitzgerald yesterday said a proposed new public pay commission would still take a couple of months to be set up and the Government was still open to talks with unions in the coming days.

The GRA has suggested that its members will have no choice but to take industrial action if their pay is frozen this week, including a so-called ‘blue flu-style’ protest. The ASTI yesterday said it would withdraw from extra working hours agreed in the new school year.

However, middle-ranking gardaí said they would put the new pay deal before members in the autumn. In a statement, the AGSI said it will ballot its members in early August on the Lansdowne Road Agreement.


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