Gardaí to be balloted this week on remaining strike days
GRA and AGSI meet to consider next steps after €40m proposal from Labour Court
The Labour Court proposal includes an increase in rent allowance of €500 a year, which will be restored to recently-recruited gardaí on acceptance of the proposal. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Gardaí are to meet on Monday to plan their next steps following the suspension of industrial action, due to take place last Friday.
Three further strike days, planned for Friday November 11th, 18th and 25th, have not yet been deferred, and a ballot of gardaí on the proposed Labour Court deal, likely to be held this week, will decide whether further action will be taken.
The central executive committee of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents 10,500 rank-and-file gardaí, is to meet on Monday to discuss the upcoming ballot of its members. The committee will examine in detail the proposal put forward by the court and will also discuss their approach to the remaining strike days.
The national executive of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), which has an estimated 2,000 members, has said it will also discuss the proposal this week and will ballot members on whether or not they wish to call off industrial action.
The Labour Court proposal is estimated to cost €40 million. It includes an increase in rent allowance of €500 a year. The allowance, which had been abolished for recently-recruited gardaí, will be immediately restored to them on the acceptance of the new proposals.
The Labour Court has also proposed that plans to integrate rent allowance into core pay for all gardaí – which will have a knock-on impact on premium payments and overtime – should be brought forward to the beginning of January 2017.
A 15-minute handover period between shifts, known as a pre-tour briefing, will be introduced from January 2017, earlier than previously anticipated, and gardaí will receive a payment of €1,459 a year to cover this period.
The proposals also contain an additional holiday payment. The court said the payment should be introduced to gardaí to reflect uncertainty over the taking of annual leave. This would provide for an additional €15 for each day of leave they receive.
Technically, the AGSI and the GRA are staff representative bodies rather than trade unions. Under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, gardaí are entitled to be members of an association to represent their views on matters including pay, pensions and conditions of service.
However, section 18 states a garda shall not be a member of any trade union or association, “any object of which is to control or influence the pay, pensions or conditions of service” of gardaí.
“If any question arises whether any body or association is a trade union or association . . . the question shall be determined by the Minister whose determination shall be final,” legislation states.