Tuesday 25 April 2017

GRA demands to know why it was excluded from pay talks

Pat Ennis General Secretary of the GRA. Photo: Frank McGrath
Pat Ennis General Secretary of the GRA. Photo: Frank McGrath

Cormac McQuinn, Anne-Marie Walsh and Philip Ryan

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has demanded to know why it was excluded from the recent round of pay negotiations with Minister Paschal Donohoe.

It comes after the Public Expenditure Minister announced he is bringing forward a €1,000 pay increase for other public sector workers by five months.

He took the action to appease the demands of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) after gardaí received a €50m pay deal following the Labour Court ruling that averted a strike late last year.

Despite this, the GRA was not included in the talks that led to the acceleration of pay hikes for other public sector workers.

Gardaí are to receive pay increases of around €4,000 after the Labour Court ruling and will not benefit from the accelerated payments announced by Mr Donohoe.

The payment only relates to public sector workers earning less than €65,000. A condition of the pay hikes is that unions involved maintain industrial peace and Mr Donohoe said the €120m will be found through "efficiencies and savings".

Last night GRA general secretary Pat Ennis wrote to the Association's Central Executive Committee.

He said GRA members were "an integral part of the wider public service" and welcomed the accelerated pay restoration for their fellow workers.

But he said the association would now seek a commitment from the department that its members would be "treated equally" in future negotiations.

Mr Ennis said the GRA had an entitlement to full trade union status and collective bargaining.

"In this regard, we will be seeking clarification as to why we were not included in this recent round of negotiations; and will seek to impress on Government the adverse ramifications that the deliberate exclusion of the [GRA] may have towards generating agreement and mobilising consent in the future," he said.

He was seeking a meeting with Mr Donohoe "to this end".

Separately, Mr Donohoe came under pressure at a Dáil Committee to explain where he would find €170m for pay for combined pay hikes for gardaí and other public sector workers.

Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary referred to Mr Donohoe's explanation that the money would be sourced, saying: "That's one very big sofa if there's €170m down the back of it."

Mr Donohoe said savings and efficiencies of €168m were found last year, while maintaining service commitments, adding: "That's what I intend to do for 2017 as well."

Negotiations on a successor to the Lansdowne Road Agreement are to begin after the Public Service Pay Commission produces its report.

Irish Independent

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