Civil servants to begin campaign of local protests

AFTER successfully disrupting Government agencies and departments yesterday, lower paid civil servants are to begin a campaign of locally based work protests on March 9.

The action by 13,000 members of the Civil, Public and Services Union (CPSU) saw public service buildings such as dole offices closed across the country.

Workers picketed for support from the public for their campaign against the public service pension levy and deferral of wages under the latest national wage agreement.

At the Dáil, a number of non-Government TDs and senators refused to pass the picket line in support of the protesters. Others said they had to pass because they had issues to address which directly affected their constituents.

Among them, Fine Gael’s Joe McHugh said he was uncomfortable passing the picket but said he had an important motion about crime in his Donegal constituency.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said he had to enter Leinster House to raise the fact that the CPSU members were protesting.

“They should not have to be on strike. The Government should be talking to trade unions.”

However, Labour Affairs Minister Billy Kelleher said he was concerned civil servants had decided to strike. He said the country was in challenging times and the Government fully understood that people were upset at the burden that had been placed on them.

“But this is one of many measures over a period of time,” he said. “I am quite confident that people will see that there will be fairness in the taxation system, in the amount of burden people will be expected to carry over the period ahead.”

Eoin Ronayne of CPSU said his union was happy at how the day of strike had unfolded. “It has gone very much according to plan across the country. The picket lines have been solid and people have turned up.”

On the planned campaign of action starting on March 9, he said it would comprise “smart action” involving “low-level sporadic work-to -rules”.

“The action may only be for an hour or two. It will be strategically targeted, not hitting any particular area on one day,” he said.

Mr Ronayne also said that while the CPSU action was separate to that of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, his union was committed to the ICTU campaign to get the Government back into social partnership talks.

Meanwhile, non-consultant hospital doctors (NCHDs), members of the Irish Medical Organisation, have voted for industrial action should Labour Relations Commission talks between the IMO and the HSE/Department of Health fail to bring about a resolution on training rosters.

Of the returned ballots, 99% voted in favour of industrial action, up to and including all-out strike action.

“Management’s attempt to unilaterally impose rosters irrespective of the consequences for patient care and safety or the training needs of the NCHDs is clearly driven by HSE directions aimed at cutting costs,” said Dr John Morris, NCHD committee.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.