Efforts underway to avert prison industrial action

Haddington Road Agreement group intervenes to try and prevent work-to-rule

An oversight group for the Haddington Road Agreement has intervened in a bid to avert planned industrial action by prison officers. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

An oversight group for the Haddington Road Agreement has intervened in a bid to avert planned industrial action by prison officers. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Moves are underway aimed at averting forthcoming industrial action in the State’s prisons.

The National Oversight Group of the Haddington Road Agreement on public service pay and productivity has intervened in a bid to head off the planned industrial action by prison officers, which is scheduled for later this month.

Earlier this week, 93 per cent of members of the Prison Officers’ Association voted to commence a work-to-rule from March 26th over concerns about unilateral decisions made by the Irish Prison Service which they claimed impacted on staff safety.

In a statement, the National Oversight Group said it had met separately with staff representatives and prison service management.

It said both parties had affirmed their commitment to the agreement they reached as part of the Haddington Road accord “to secure savings of €12.42 million, and to work together with the priority to deliver measures which will secure those savings”.

“All parties to the Haddington Road agreement have committed to working together to resolve industrial relations disputes promptly, including their efforts to find detailed agreement on the means to find the agreed savings, using the available dispute resolution measures, with the aim of resolving problems before they escalate into industrial disputes.”

Binding outcome

The oversight group said if the parties were unable to resolve the dispute either directly or through facilitation, a process for securing a final and binding outcome was set out in both the Haddington Road deal and its predecessor, the Croke Park agreement.

The oversight group said the State’s industrial relations bodies, up to or including the Labour Court acting on an ad hoc basis, would be available to assist the parties in their discussions on achieving the agreed savings.

“[The oversight group] requests all parties to take all steps necessary to maintain industrial peace and normal working until all procedures on the matters under discussion have been exhausted.”