Emergency staff support Ictu stance


Workers in the emergency services today backed an escalation of industrial action over public sector cutbacks.

The 24/7 Frontline Alliance warned it will join other public servants on the picket lines unless the Government reopens talks.

The umbrella group represents gardaí, nurses, fire fighters, prison officers and ambulance personnel.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) is meeting tomorrow to discuss stepping up industrial action over the cost-cutting measures.

Des Kavanagh, chairman of the Frontline Alliance and of the Psychiatric Nurses Association, said a recruitment freeze, pay cuts and pensions levies were taking their toll on morale and working conditions.

“Unless the Government is willing to re-engage with the trade union movement in the next few weeks there is no way that the present situation can be allowed to continue,” he said.

“It is already beginning to have a severe effect on the delivery of services to the public.” Mr Kavanagh said front line services were committed to protecting essential services but were faced with trainees emigrating because of the cutbacks.

“The alliance is putting the Government on notice that we will be joining our colleagues in other public sector unions on the picket lines if that is what it takes to make the wealthy in our society pay their fair share,” he said.

“If this administration does not have the will to stand up against powerful vested interests on behalf of the vast majority of our citizens, ordinary hard working people, it should at least have the decency to stand down.”

The alliance includes the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, the Garda Representative Association, Impact, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, Prison Officers Association and Siptu.

Ictu’s public services committee will discuss proposals for a wave of rolling work stoppages across the civil and public service at talks tomorrow.

On Friday, the Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU), which represents around 13,000 lower-paid civil servants, served formal strike notice on the Government.

The action is expected to hit services provided by the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Social and Family Affairs and the Passport Office.