THE organisation representing the country’s rank-and-file gardaí is to recommend that its 11,200 members vote to accept the terms of the Croke Park agreement on public service pay and reform.
The Central Executive Committee of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) has decided to issue postal ballots to its members on August 2 and will count the votes after the ballot closes on August 26.
GRA bosses said the Government has accepted that allowances and premiums are a core part of garda pay and no further reductions would be implemented during the lifetime of any agreement reached, as long as the economy suffers no further dips.
They will tell their members there is no promise of a reversal of pay cuts implemented throughout 2009, but there is a possibility they will be reviewed in 2011 if conditions allow, specifically for lower wage earners.
If the 11,200 GRA members vote in favour of the ballot, the organisation will be committed to negotiate upon the transformation agenda for the justice sector of the public service.
“As a staff association, our duty is to ensure our members are not subjected to further pay cuts. We are living in uncertain times, and each member has a voice in making this decision. Our members have already suffered five significant pay cuts and will typically be taking home around €5,000 less this year than in 2008,” GRA president Damien McCarthy said.
He said that if his members rejected the Croke Park deal it was unclear how the Government would react.
“If they accept the deal, at least for now, the pay position is on hold.”
He said it was important GRA members are content with their working conditions and rostering arrangements.
“The proposed reforms could cause concern, notably a new rostering system. Although it is already agreed that any change in rostering would form a separate agreed pilot scheme and requires a further ballot of members,” Garda McCarthy said.
He added that the GRA would be holding discussions with European counterparts to analyse rostering in other police forces.
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