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Monday 1 May 2017

Garda sergeants and inspectors call off strike after getting €3,600 offer

John Jacob, general secretary of the AGSI, and Antoinette Cunningham, president of the AGSI, arrive at the Labour Court on Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney
John Jacob, general secretary of the AGSI, and Antoinette Cunningham, president of the AGSI, arrive at the Labour Court on Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Kevin Doyle and Tom Brady

Garda sergeants and inspectors will show up for work today after an 11th-hour deal that will see members balloted on a pay offer.

The deal on the table is worth a combined €3,600 to mid-ranking gardaí.

The move means the 2,500 members of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) will be available for duty, greatly reducing the pressure on garda management.

The AGSI said the proposals it would put to members would provide an uplift in income, although it did not provide specific details. And it said a fundamental and historic wrong had been put right as it has gained access to the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court.

AGSI president Antoinette Cunningham said the union would ballot its members on Labour Court proposals after saying the deal represented "an uplift" in the income of all its members.

"A fundamental and historic wrong has been put right tonight as a direct result of the sustained four-year AGSI campaign to gain access to the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court.

"This has always been a key part of our commitment to members and that commitment intensified in recent weeks."

Analysis: Questions over how it got so close to the brink

Ms Cunningham said the AGSI had "gained an uplift in the income of all our members".

"Finally we would like to express our thanks to the chairman and members of the Labour Court for all their assistance in resolving this dispute," she added.

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald welcomed the decision by the AGSI to cancel its industrial action, saying she wanted "to commend" all who had been involved in "complex discussions".

"The part played by the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court in seeking to resolve this dispute has been invaluable and I want to express my thanks to them," she said.

Ms Fitzgerald reaffirmed the Government's commitment to introducing legislative change to give the Garda associations the right of access to the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court.

"This has been an intensive period of negotiation with AGSI and I would like to commend all who have been involved in these complex discussions for engaging in this process in good faith and for their commitment to finding a resolution. The part played by the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court in seeking to resolve this dispute has been invaluable and I want to express my thanks to them."

Contingency

In the event of the strike going ahead, key areas such as the ports and the courts were due to be open for business as usual today. Few districts would have had regular patrols policing the streets and roads of the nation.

Analysis: Authority of Commissioner still enormously wounded

Despite talk of contingency plans, senior Garda management at national and local level were still trying to assess how many members of the force would turn up for work.

A directive from Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan, issued from Garda HQ on Tuesday, that they should turn up for duty, delivered little response.

A sizeable number of gardaí indicated they had not made up their minds in the midst of a flurry of activity as their negotiators trooped in and out of the Labour Court.

Irish Independent

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