Wednesday 26 October 2016

GRA to survey gardaí on strike plans

Published 09/07/2016 | 02:30

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe Photo: Frank Mc Grath

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has begun canvassing members about the exact form of industrial action that should be taken as part of the ongoing public sector pay dispute.

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Rank-and-file gardaí are furious after the Government refused to fulfil its pledge to carry out a pay review of the force, as laid down in the Haddington Road Agreement.

In response, gardaí have refused to sign up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement and have been hit with pay freezes as a result.

The union will now send out surveys to members to gauge their views about the prospect of strike action.

A demonstration is also being planned for July 21 - the day the Dáil rises - to take place outside either the Dáil or the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The industrial action began this week when officers withdrew from Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan's new modernisation plan for the force.

The pay freeze means gardaí will not get their annual or long-service increments, which are due to members on differing dates.

But sources within the union have confirmed strike action is on the cards in the future.

A decision on the precise course of action will be taken once the correspondence from individual members is received and considered by the GRA executive.

"It is a fairly thorough and arduous process, so we are not talking about any radical action in the short term," a source said.

In recent weeks, the GRA has demanded an exemption from the pay freeze until a crucial report on their terms and conditions is unveiled, or it will begin an "industrial campaign" that could lead to severe disruption.

GRA bosses discussed their course of action on a number of occasions this week, after warning that their immediate step will be to snub the Garda Commissioner's much-heralded modernisation plan.

Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe has on a number of occasions appealed to the GRA to express its members' position from within the confines of the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

The GRA wants an independent review into key issues, including the right to strike and a timetable for pay restoration for its members.

It is understood that John Horgan is being lined up to head the review, following the recent resignation of former chairman Ray Magee.

Irish Independent

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