The threat of industrial action by firefighters in Cork City has been lifted after the city council agreed to pay back-money linked to pay restoration.
The breakthrough came after eight hours of conciliation talks facilitated by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) between the firefighters, their union representatives, and council management. The talks had commenced on Friday.
Members of the brigade confirmed yesterday that they had agreed to withdraw the notice of industrial action served on City Hall last week, and which was due to kick in from July 25.
It is expected the payments, which could be worth up to €500 per firefighter, will be processed over the coming days and land in their bank accounts in early August.
Talks are expected to take place over the coming days to agree how firefighters will work through a backlog of paperwork which arose during their unofficial industrial action.
Lord Mayor of Cork Mick Finn welcomed news of the resolution.
“I know they worked long and hard into last Friday night to get to this point and that work continued over the weekend,” he said.
“As a former union chair, I know that these issues are more complex than some would realise, so well done to all involved.
“Our fire service is without compare and this was very much in evidence in recent weeks.”
The conciliation conference took place following a request made earlier in the week by City Hall management to expedite the conciliation process.
“Council management welcomes the suspension of the unofficial industrial action and has committed to working constructively with the WRC to bring final resolution to the dispute,” City Hall said in a statement.
The firefighters’ dispute arose over the nonpayment of back money linked to a pay restoration process agreed under the Public Services Stability Agreement.
The Cork brigade was the only full-time fire brigade in the country not to receive the payment.
The council claimed the dispute was linked to a separate dispute over training courses, dating back to 2015, which management said had forced the cancellation of more than 20 training sessions.
Siptu rejected such an assertion. A separate WRC process is addressing the training courses issue, with talks set to take place before the end of this month.
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