Gardaí to decide on escalation of protest

Representatives of rank-and-file gardaí will decide on Monday how to escalate their ongoing protest against the Government’s proposed cuts to their wage packets.

Last month members of the Garda Representative Association “turned off the goodwill tap” by refusing to use personal cars, mobile phones, and laptops while on duty, and by refusing to leave home telephone numbers with their stations to take calls when off duty.

They are also only driving official Garda vehicles when on duty and officers who have not passed the full driver training courses will not drive official cars.

Yesterday, the GRA executive met to discuss their response to the Croke Park II recommendation issued by the Labour Relations Commission earlier this week.

However, a source said that as they needed to attend a meeting of the 24/7 Frontline Alliance of emergency workers after their own gathering, they did not get to decide on their next steps.

He said they will confirm measures to escalate their protest when they reconvene on Monday.

Meanwhile, the joint meeting of trade unions aligned to the Frontline Alliance yielded a nationwide campaign of protests against the contents of the LRC recommendation.

The unions, which represent 70,000 nurses, gardaí, and prison officers, will form bonds with other unions opposed to the recommended €1bn worth of cuts, engage in co-ordinated public information campaigns, arrange open meetings for all public servants to outline the full impact of the proposals; and will also embark on a media campaign to highlight what they say are “inequalities and anti-family measures”.

Meanwhile, another large union, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, confirmed it is to ballot its 40,000 members on the proposals with a recommendation from the executive for a rejection of the terms.

The union said the measures were “unbalanced, unfair, and seek to impose a third round of pay cuts on low- and middle-income public servants which they cannot afford”.

Yesterday did, however, see two unions, Impact and the Public Service Executive Union, confirm they will be recommending their members vote to accept the terms.

Shay Cody, the general secretary of Impact, told his 60,000 public service members that the package will result in loss of income for a proportion of public servants and changes in conditions for many more.

But he added: “By negotiating, Impact and other unions have succeeded in reducing the severity of management proposals in every important area, and it is likely that deeper cuts will be imposed if this package is rejected.”

The Irish National Teachers Organisation will meet today to decide what recommendation, if any, it will make to its members in a ballot.

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