Garda pay deal in bid to stave off strike

The prospect of unprecedented strike action by frontline gardaí will be decided by Wednesday after what will be a frenetic three days for the Garda Representative Association.

In a surprise development late on Friday night, senior leaders of the GRA and the Department of Justice made the outlines of a pay deal after lengthy talks.

This proposal, full details of which are still unknown, will go before the 31-member GRA ruling body, the Central Executive Committee (CEC), this morning.

This will be followed tomorrow with the outcome of a ballot of GRA’s 10,000 members on whether or not they are willing to take industrial action. There is an expectation they will back such action.

Then on Wednesday, all GRA delegates will discuss both the proposal and the ballot results when they meet for a Special Delegate Conference in Tullamore.

The conference, which is closed to the media, was scheduled to ratify the new general secretary Pat Ennis.

It was not clear yesterday if the CEC will be in a position to make an agreed recommendation to delegates on Wednesday.

In a statement yesterday, the GRA said: “Discussions have concluded with the Department. A positional document from these discussions will be presented to the Central Executive Committee of the Garda Representative Association tomorrow for its consideration.”

The GRA declined to outline the agreement before the CEC meeting. But the Department of Justice indicated the agreement included a proposal to give new recruits back their €4,000 a year rent allowance.

The proposal will require the GRA to sign up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement, which it has previously rejected, arguing that its predecessor, the Haddington Road Agreement, had not been adhered to by the Government, particularly in relation to pay restoration and a pay review.

“The department can confirm that agreement was reached with the GRA on Friday which, if approved by its members, will bring the GRA within the terms of the Lansdowne Road Agreement. As part of the agreement, the rent allowance of over €4,000 will be restored for recent recruits and for anyone joining An Garda Síochána in the current recruitment campaign.”

It is thought pay increments would also be restored under the proposal. This would benefit gardaí with less than 17 years service.

It is not clear what the proposal contains on pay review and pay restoration, which affects all GRA members.

CEC members will also hear what the proposal says regarding extra unpaid hours. Under Haddington Road, gardaí gave an extra 30 hours free a year.

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