Garda union branches at odds over pay proposal

Tensions over the possibility of industrial action within the Garda Síochána have heightened after the ruling body of the largest staff association yesterday failed to reach an agreement over a pay proposal.

A statement from the Garda Representative Association said discussions at its central executive committee meeting had been “adjourned” until tomorrow’s special delegate conference.

One of the branches — Dublin South Central Division — unanimously rejected the proposal, saying it was “wholly unacceptable”.

It comes as the results of a ballot of members on their willingness to take industrial action is due today — with many representatives expecting it will back action.

In what was a surprise development on Friday night, GRA negotiators and Department of Justice officials agreed a pay proposal.

The GRA statement said the draft agreement dealt with the restoration of the rent allowance, the removal of the pay freeze, and partial pay restoration by 2017.

The proposal debated by the GRA’s 31-member executive committee yesterday has been seen by the Irish Examiner. It proposes:

  • The freeze on the incremental pay scale will be lifted with retrospective effect to July 1;
  • Restoration of the €4,000 per year rent allowance to new members subject to accepting the Lansdowne Road Agreement, the public service stability agreement, and a list of seven reforms;
  • It will be subject to a verification process — which, if conditions are adhered to, will restore rent allowance in two phases, from January 2017 and January 2018;
  • Additional hours, to be implemented with “flexibility” by the Garda commissioner;
  • Constructive engagement with the pay review under the Haddington Road Agreement with a view to concluding it by end of 2016;
  • Garda representative bodies are to have “direct access” to future pay determination mechanisms.

The agreement also states: “It is acknowledged that the Garda Representative Association does not have trade union status and is constrained from taking industrial action.”

The agreement adds it was the association’s policy to pursue trade union status and associated rights.

In the GRA statement, president Ciaran O’Neill said: “The central executive committee has decided that further discussion is required and as a result, will meet again at the special delegate conference on Wednesday, where representatives will be given the opportunity to debate the package and then decide whether or not to ballot our membership.”

The Dublin South Central statement said: “After an initial review of the document put forward, the DMR South central reps find what is on offer as wholly unacceptable as it fails to meet a number of red line issues, primarily pay restoration.

“Working additional hours and pay restoration have failed to be addressed.”

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