Gardai push for campaign of 'robust' industrial action
THE leadership of the rank and file Garda Representative Association is expected to sanction a campaign of phased industrial action in protest at proposed cuts to their pay.
The move comes as GRA members in Mayo last night became the latest branch to back 'blue flu' industrial action in An Garda Siochana.
The decision will be made at the conclusion of a two-day meeting of the GRA's ruling central executive committee in Dublin this afternoon.
About three-quarters of the delegates spoke yesterday during the meeting and all were strongly in favour of a robust campaign of action.
The gardai may opt to start their campaign by refusing to use their current discretionary powers and fine or summons anybody committing a minor offence.
The campaign would then be stepped up to include a ban on issuing tickets or serving warrants.
Gardai said if the initial phases were not effective they should then opt for the "nuclear" option of staging a "blue flu" protest.
The leadership rejected a suggestion that gardai should wear their uniforms at a rally organised by the 24/7 Frontline Alliance for Tallaght on Monday evening.
A huge number of gardai are expected to attend from all over the country. The suggestion of wearing uniforms arose at a meeting of the alliance earlier this week – but the executive meeting was told that this was a non-runner. It could result in a breach of disciplinary regulations.
However, a range of other suggestions were also discussed. A final decision will not be taken until the rest of the executive have expressed their views.
Action proposed at branch meetings included refusing to volunteer for traffic-management duties at major sporting events and concerts.
Gardai have also considered not making themselves available to cover other members of the emergency services if they take industrial action.
This would include helping to run the jails if members of the Prison Officers Association decide to stage a walk out.
Association branches in Cork, Dublin, Limerick, Waterford, Laois-Offaly, Tipperary, Monaghan and Louth have already backed a hardline stance against the cuts.
Gardai in south Dublin insisted that the executive committee should have detailed proposals for a work-to- rule ready by Monday and it was suggested that the action be launched by mid-March.