GRA balloted on their willingness to strike over pay
Published 08/09/2016 | 02:30
The days of the 'blue flu' could be over as rank and file gardaí are being balloted on their willingness to take part in direct strike action.
The Garda Representative Association has asked its 10,500 members if they are so "dissatisfied with [their] current pay and conditions" if they would consider downing tools even though such a measure would leave officers open to disciplinary procedures.
The Central Executive Committee told the Irish Independent that it had decided to ballot its members in respect to industrial action so that it could gauge support amongst the rank and file for such a decision.
As gardaí are not permitted to strike, they have previously expressed their dissatisfaction with by calling in sick - which has been nicknamed 'blue flu'.
The GRA has already rejected the Lansdowne Road Agreement on public service pay and have previously stated its unwillingness to engage with the Government while its members remain subject to a freeze on any pay rises.
"It is the policy of the Association to seek appropriate remuneration for the dangerous and essential work that we do and the removal of the two-tier pay system," said Ciaran O'Neill, GRA President.
"The Garda Representative Association are available for discussion with government and we are committed at this point to resolving our differences in this way. We need to be prepared for the possibility that talks will end without resolution and, in surveying our members, we are preparing for a number of eventualities."
The question on the ballot sent to GRA members reads: "Are you so dissatisfied with your current pay and conditions that you are willing to take part in a day(s) of industrial action?"
Officers are asked to return their ballots by 5pm on September 26. The GRA said they will only discuss what form any action may take after they receive the answer from members.
Last month, mid-ranking gardaí voted decisively to accept the Lansdowne Road accords, with 71 pc of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) backing the deal.
In the letter accompanying the ballot, GRA General Secretary Pat Ennis says that it is of "paramount importance that all members express their views on whether they are ... willing to take part in industrial action.
"This ballot will establish the level of anger of our members."
Describing the Government's stance on pay conditions as "disproportionate, unfair and inequitable", Mr Ennis goes on to say the GRA does not accept the Government's position of the "continued reduction of pay and the withholding of entitlements because of their refusal to capitulate on the terms of the Lansdowne Road Agreement."
The letter finishes with a warning to GRA members that they could face consequences if they strike, saying "if you take action that involves a partial or complete withdrawal of services, you could be found in breach of discipline."