Minister says public service pay rises only for those within Lansdowne Road agreement

GRA president says gardaí ‘ruling nothing out’ in terms of industrial action

The President of the Garda Representative Association Ciaran O’Neill says that they are ‘ruling nothing out’ in terms of industrial action

The President of the Garda Representative Association Ciaran O’Neill says that they are ‘ruling nothing out’ in terms of industrial action

 

The payment of incremental pay rises for public service staff will be confined to members of unions and representative groups that are inside the Lansdowne Road agreement, the Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe has signalled.

The Minister said that the law set out what will happen in cases where unions have decided to stay outside the Lansdowne Road accord and that this would be followed by the Government.

At present, thousands of rank and file gardaí as well as second level teachers represented by the Asti union seems set to forfeit increments due to be paid from next Friday.

Members of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) and the Asti have rejected the Lansdowne Road deal.

Both organisations had backed the former Haddington Road deal on public service pay and productivity. However, it is due to expire on Thursday.

Financial emergency legislation introduced last autumn allows the Government to impose financial penalties such as forfeiture of increments on members of unions deemed to have repudiated a collective agreement.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Donohoe said the benefits and protections set out in the Lansdowne Road deal would be confined to groups inside the Lansdowne Road agreement.

However, he said the Government would engage with the groups currently outside the agreement in the days remaining before the deadline of Thursday night.

Mr Donohoe said 288,000 civil and public servants were covered by the Lansdowne Road agreement following votes of their unions.

“I have a duty and the Government has a duty to make sure that the decisions that they made are respected. And in order to do that, we need to be clear that the benefits and protections of Lansdowne Road are conferred on those inside it.”

He said the Government did want to engage with unions in the time remaining. “But we have to follow the law in this area and the law lays out a process for what will happen if unions decide they do not want to be a part of Lansdowne Road”, he said.

Meanwhile, the president of the Garda Representative Association Ciaran O’Neill says that they are “ruling nothing out” in terms of industrial action following the government’s failure to honour the promise of a pay review.

Mr O’Neill told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that 87 per cent of their members had rejected the Lansdowne Road Agreement as they are still awaiting a pay review which was promised under the earlier Haddington Road Agreement.

He warned that if the government imposes penalties then the GRA will consider industrial action, even though it is illegal for gardaí to go on strike.

The GRA maintains that the government is not honouring the promises it made under the Haddington Road Agreement to hold a review of Garda pay.

“The review was supposed to have been completed in 2014. This has been a two year delay,” said Mr O’Neill.

The Chairman of the Review Group resigned two months ago.

“We are looking for the government to get it up and running again as soon as possible. The government has failed to implement the Haddington Road Agreement.

“The pathway to the Lansdowne Road Agreement is the Haddington Road agreement but we’re still waiting for that to be honoured.”

Mr O’Neill said that his members are not ruling out any form of industrial action, but that nothing had been decided yet on what form this would take.