Gardaí to urge stronger say on pay at annual conference

Force members should be treated separately to other public sector workers, says GRA chief

Garda Representative Association general secretary PJ Stone participating in a protest over proposed Garda pay cuts under the new Croke Park agreement outside Leinster House in Dublin last month. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish  Times

Garda Representative Association general secretary PJ Stone participating in a protest over proposed Garda pay cuts under the new Croke Park agreement outside Leinster House in Dublin last month. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Mon, Apr 29, 2013, 06:38

Delegates representing rank and file gardaí are to demand they have a voice at future negotiations on pay at their annual conference, starting tomorrow.

As more than 160 divisional representatives of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) prepare to descend upon Westport, Co Mayo, for its 35th annual conference, general secretary PJ Stone said gardaí should be dealt with separately from other public sector workers.

“Gardaí are a unique organ of State, not dissimilar in some aspects to the judiciary, yet a perceived constitutional crisis with this country’s judges is dealt with separately and distinctly from other public and civil servants,” Mr Stone said.

“Gardaí too should be afforded a separate mechanism for negotiations of pay and conditions.”

Independent commission

The annual conference, which is the policy-making body for the GRA, will vote on 19 motions - including calls for the establishment of an independent commission to report on pay and conditions in An Garda Síochána.

GRA president John Parker is also to meet Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan tomorrow.

Mr Stone said representatives had been excluded from the first round of talks on Croke Park II, which trade unions have subsequently and overwhelmingly voted down.

He accused the Government of misinforming the public as to the level of input Garda representatives were given.

“We were never involved or were never going to form part of any significant movement in the discussions under the Croke Park II proposals,” Mr Stone said.

“Yet our political masters have decided that the only way they can combat the unfairness of our exile from the pay talks is to repeatedly pretend that we could have somehow influenced discussions in a far-off room.

“When Government and trade unions are in negotiations, Garda are excluded from both sides.”

Right demanded

The GRA, which represents 11,200 rank and file gardaí from 31 Garda divisions, will demand the right for gardaí to discuss their pay and conditions.

It claims this is a priority for the organisation and that there will be no justice until a solution is reached.

Meanwhile, unions have been warned the Government will impose pay cuts and increment freezes if a deal to reduce the public sector pay bill is not reached within two weeks.

Industrial relations mediator Kieran Mulvey, who was appointed to coax unions back into talks following the collapse of Croke Park II, told them the Government remains committed to shaving €300 million off the pay bill this year.

PA