Roscommon council faces more strikes

Further crippling strikes at Roscommon County Council are planned for next Tuesday and Thursday as management and 160 staff members remain completely at odds over flexi-leave.

Calls to the council yesterday were met with an automated voicemail telling members of the public there was industrial action by the Fórsa trade union, for which council management apologised.

The union has claimed that council management has breached an agreement mediated by the Labour Court by not giving its members access to family-friendly flexi-leave for the last year.

However, Eugene Cummins, chief executive of the council, said the Labour Court had been clear that flexi-leave was not an automatic entitlement, could not be generated at will and that there had to be a business need for it.

He told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland programme that, for the last 17 years, the council staff had worked additional hours “without permission or purpose” and when they needed to not when the organisation needed them.

“Into the future, it has to be managed,” said Mr Cummins. “They have to get permission and it can only be generated if there is a business need for it.”

The union said management had put a blanket ban on flexi-leave rather than considering when it was warranted which had been the case on a number of occasions over the last year.

Fórsa also sought to dispel suggestions that its members were looking for an additional 13 days’ leave per year through the flexi-leave scheme, pointing out its members would still be working the same hours but occasionally at more family-friendly times.

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