Tuesday 25 April 2017

Gardaí face pay freeze after talks collapse

Gardaí have refused to sign up to Lansdowne Road, which would require them to work an extra 30 hours a year without payment.
Gardaí have refused to sign up to Lansdowne Road, which would require them to work an extra 30 hours a year without payment.

Niall O'Connor, Anne-Marie Walsh and Katherine Donnelly

Rank and file gardaí are facing the threat of a two-year increment freeze on their pay after talks between the Garda Representative Association (GRA) and the Department of Justice broke down.

The freeze could take effect from as early as Friday, when the Haddington Road Agreement comes to an end and is replaced by the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Gardaí have refused to sign up to Lansdowne Road, which would require them to work an extra 30 hours a year without payment.

It is understood a Department of Justice document that was being considered by the garda bodies offered to defer a two-year increment freeze and incorporate a €4,017 rent allowance into new recruits' basic pay. However, with talks having broken down, gardaí are now facing the prospect of a two-year increment freeze from Friday.

Ciarán O'Neill, president of the GRA, said members refused to sign up to Lansdowne Road as it does not address issues such as full pay restoration and the removal of a two-tier pay system for new recruits and longer-serving gardaí.

"One major sticking point is that the Government wants gardaí to work for free, which the GRA believes is unacceptable in the current economic climate. For the Government to deny our members their due, especially with the recent improvements in the economy, is scandalous," he added.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors is still in talks with the Department of Justice.

Meanwhile, secondary teachers' union the ASTI, which is also outside the Lansdowne Road deal, is to discuss Government warnings on what their members could lose if they do not sign up. Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Paschal Donohoe has ruled out "unfunded" pay rises for public servants, warning they could become "the savage wage cut" of the future. He said any repeal of emergency legislation that slashed their pay would have to be "gradual".

Irish Independent

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