Speed cameras will be in use despite Saturday’s staff strike

Road policing units to step in while GoSafe employees take industrial action

Gardaí have said up to half of speed camera vans will be in operation on Saturday despite a 24-hour strike by staff who operate the vehicles and that road policing units across the country will make up the shortfall.

Members of the trade union Siptu working at the GoSafe company, which operate speed camera vans on behalf of the State, are to go on strike in a dispute over conditions and union recognition.

The stoppage will commence at 6am on Saturday morning.

In a statement on Friday evening, gardaí said management at the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau had met GoSafe to put in place a contingency plan to ensure the effective monitoring of speed limits throughout the country on Saturday.

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“Go Safe has outlined that it will still be providing up to 50 per cent capacity tomorrow, and Garda roads policing units throughout the country will make up the shortfall with high visibility speeding intercept operations.”

Siptu organiser Brendan Carr said if the concerns of staff continued to be ignored the dispute would escalate further into a longer stoppage and potentially a full indefinite strike.

Siptu said its members could be confined to their van for up to 11 hours while conducting their duties.

“This results in workers being placed under extreme circumstances while at the same time trying to conduct their road safety service.”

Mr Carr said: “Our members have been left with no option other than to conduct this work stoppage. They are aware of the implications this will have on the vital role they play in road safety and have called on motorists to respect speed limits during their action.”

“Our members are only taking this action as a last resort because of the intransigence of management who have refused to address their concerns relating to health and safety and their conditions of employment. These workers have attempted to address these problems through the State industrial relations mechanisms. However, the company has refused to engage with the workers through their union despite the service they provide being fully funded by the State.”

GoSafe did not comment on the dispute on Friday.

It is understood that just over 50 per cent of monitoring operators working for Go Safe are members of Siptu.

The company also has an internal, non-union, representative body known as the monitoring operators’ forum.

Contract

The Department of Justice said that the contract to operate the speed camera vans was between the Minister for Justice, the Garda Commissioner and GoSafe trading as Road Safety Operations Ireland.

“The Minister is unable to intervene in a dispute between the contracted service provider and its employees and members of Siptu.

“The safety camera network makes a significant contribution to road safety by directly influencing and promoting responsible driver behaviour and the Minister urges all those concerned to seek a positive resolution to this dispute through the appropriate channels.”

The department said that under the terms of the contract, GoSafe was required to provide an annual minimum of 90,000 hours of monitoring and surveying vehicle speed across 1,031 designated safety camera zones.

“This equates to a minimum of 7,400 monitoring hours and 100 survey hours a month”, the department said.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent