GRA defers strikes as it ballots members on pay deal

The remaining planned Garda strikes have been deferred by the Garda Representative Association pending the result of a ballot of its 10,300 members.

But an internal row still festers within the GRA with a motion of no-confidence in the leadership adjourned until tomorrow.

The decisions were made following an intense meeting of its Central Executive Committee (CEC) yesterday.

The ballot on the Labour Court recommendation will be issued to members by November 14, with a return date of November 28.

The CEC has yet to agree on whether it will issue a recommendation for or against the deal to members — but the leadership said an analysis of the financial implications of the offer will be put up on the GRA website.

It is unclear whether the 10,330 members will accept the Labour Court offer.

There is some uncertainty, and dispute, within the rank-and-file association on the estimated financial benefits from the recommendation.

The decision to defer the remaining strike dates, over the three coming Fridays, will be welcomed within Garda management and the Government.

Speaking last night, GRA vice-president Jim Mulligan said: “The decisions made are: the three further dates in November are now deferred; we are balloting our members and the ballot will be issued at the latest on November 14, with a return date of November 28.”

He confirmed the motion of no confidence, made yesterday at the meeting, was “adjourned”. He said there was a scheduled meeting of the CEC tomorrow.

Amidst reports of members walking out of the meeting, he said the mood of the meeting was “business-like”.

“There was some tension there this morning but we’re all adults and it was a business-like meeting.”

On the financial benefits of the deal, he said: “It’s been worked on as we speak. We have our numbers man, as they say, working on it at the moment. We propose to put it on the website when it is ready to go.”

The CEC meeting started at 11.30am and, including a couple of breaks, only finished just before 6pm.

Following an 11th hour decision last Thursday, the CEC pulled back from last Friday’s strike after a recommendation from the Labour Court and it deferred decisions on the future three strikes to yesterday.

The meeting was overshadowed by an escalating internal row, with predictions certain members of the CEC had planned to push for a vote of no-confidence in the GRA leadership, including general secretary Pat Ennis.

This stemmed from a decision by GRA leadership last Thursday to significantly increase emergency cover for Friday’s strike, without first consulting the CEC.

It was claimed that this derogation list — which expanded, from four to 18, the number of exempted units — had twice previously been rejected by the CEC.

The leadership came under intense pressure from Garda HQ to massively increase emergency cover.

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