A United Nations body has written to the Government backing a Defence Forces representative association's claims that not allowing its members to affiliate with the union umbrella group, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu), is in breach of human rights.
The International Labour Organisation, a section of the UN, is backing a PDForra claim that its 6,500-members be allowed to affiliate with Ictu and therefore give it a voice at national pay talks.
PDForra, which represents enlisted members of the Army, Naval Service and Air Corps, has sought affiliation because its members are the poorest paid of all public servants.
The International Labour Organisation is a UN agency based in Geneva, Switzerland, whose mandate is to advance social and economic justice through setting international labour standards.
A Dublin-based legal firm, acting on behalf of the organisation, has informed PDForra's most senior representatives that it has contacted the Government outlining PDForra's grievances.
These grievances include its allegations of "violations of freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining of its members".
The legal firm representing the International Labour Organisation has said it is awaiting a response from the Government.
Meanwhile, Euromil, the organisation which represents military associations in EU member states, has also backed PDForra's call to be affiliated to ICTU.
@pdforra thanks @EUROMILeurope for your continued support for our calls to associate with @irishcongress and for the proper application of the WTD for members of @defenceforces#WeDeserveAVoice #CitizensInUniform #FirstToServe https://t.co/ijfgZmbtzZ— pdforra (@pdforra) January 9, 2021
Defence Forces Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Mark Mellett has previously stated that providing PDForra with a link to a trade union movement could have implications for State security.
As far back as 1994, members of PDForra have sought some sort of trade union affiliation in an effort to improve their wages.
However, having affiliation with a union is currently against Irish military regulations.
Theunderstands that if the Government fails to give its backing to the link-up, then PDForra will continue to pursue the case through the courts.
Euromil is also calling on the Irish Government to ensure the European Working Time Directive (WTD) is applied to all Defence Forces members.
PDForra previously has taken cases to the courts against the Department of Defence over WTD and won a number of settlements for its members.
The officers' representative association, Raco, has also called for proper implementation of the WTD.
Because of the continuing decline in numbers in the Defence Forces, many officers are finding themselves working up to 70 hours a week.
Raco says some are “double and treble jobbing” to cover gaps in personnel.