Rank-and-file gardaí accept Labour Court pay deal

Members did not believe better offer than €50m package would come, say GRA sources

Members of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) including Kieran O’Neill (centre) at the Workplace Relations Commission during talks in November. File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

Members of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) including Kieran O’Neill (centre) at the Workplace Relations Commission during talks in November. File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

 

Rank-and-file gardaí have voted by a large majority to accept a pay offer because they realised the Government would not be in a position to offer any more money, sources in the Garda Representative Association (GRA) have said.

The GRA’s acceptance of the €50 million deal brokered by the Labour Court last month is expected to be replicated in the ballot currently being held by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI). John Jacob, general secretary of the AGSI, said the indications were that the Labour Court deal would be accepted when the ballot is counted on Tuesday.

There was some surprise in Government circles at the strength of GRA approval for the deal, with 75 per cent voting to accept it. The turnout for the ballot was 69 per cent.

It had been feared in recent weeks the GRA, which has more than 10,000 members, might reject the offer, but sources in the organisation said members realised the Government was unlikely to make a more generous offer.

“I don’t think they thought a better offer might be coming in the current climate,” a GRA source said.

Government figures, as well as Fianna Fáil TDs, had privately said there would have been no option but to face down future threatened strikes in the event of the deal being rejected.

Welcomed

The outcome was welcomed by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan. The result of the ballot within the AGSI, which accepted the Lansdowne Road agreement, could be an even bigger margin in favour.

The Government has yet to decide how it will fund the €50 million for increased Garda pay. Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe has said it will have to be met from existing funds, and Government figures have said the biggest slice will come from within the Department of Justice vote.

The Labour Court issued its recommendation last month after the 10,500 rank-and-file gardaí in the GRA and more than 2,000 sergeants and inspectors in the AGSI were set to begin a 24-hour withdrawal of service, a strike in all but name, at 7am on Friday, November 4th. It was intended to be the first of four such strike days on each Friday in November.

However, the first of the four days of action was called off less than eight hours before it was set to commence.