Strike at Oberstown youth detention centre deferred

Staff postpone industrial action as union secures agreement for independent review

Oberstown youth detention centre in Lusk, Co Dublin. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Oberstown youth detention centre in Lusk, Co Dublin. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

A planned strike by staff at the Oberstown youth detention centre in north Dublin has been deferred.

The strike, by members of the Impact trade union working at the facility, had been due to take place from January 3rd, after staff complained of regular violent incidents at the centre and insufficient protection for employees.

Impact said it had had secured an agreement for an independent review on the introduction of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff working at the centre in Lusk.

It said the strike had been deferred to allow for the review to take place.

The union said that, during talks with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on Thursday, an agreement was reached to appoint an independent health and safety expert to review “the potential requirements and protocol for PPE usage or other arrangements which equally reduce the risk of staff injury”.

Impact national secretary Eamonn Donnelly said the review would be carried out as a standalone process “and as a matter of absolute priority”.

He said it would be concluded during January 2017.

‘Significant breakthrough’

Mr Donnelly said: “The agreement today represents a significant breakthrough, which only became possible when we made it clear our members were prepared to take strike action on the issue.

“ Until now, the employer was absolutely opposed to any consideration of PPE.

“The review process agreed on Thursday will incorporate the views of stakeholders, which includes our members working at Oberstown.

“Impact has fought on this issue in order to secure the safety of the men and women who work at Oberstown, and to secure a safer environment for those in their care.”