Friday 18 August 2017

GRA militants want wage rise won by public servants on back of Garda pay deal

A garda on duty – some GRA members are seeking further wage increases. Photo: Steve Humphreys
A garda on duty – some GRA members are seeking further wage increases. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Anne-Marie Walsh and Cormac McQuinn

Militants among rank-and-file gardaí are demanding a further pay rise in relation to the one only being given to other public servants because the gardaí had got a €50m wage deal.

Sources revealed some Garda Representative Association (GRA) members believe they should also benefit from a new deal, that was brokered as compensation for them getting a €4,000 pay boost to call off strikes.

As a result of that Garda deal, the Government has agreed to give a €1,000 pay rise to public servants in April rather than September, when it was originally due under the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

One source said the force is divided about the deal for its public sector colleagues, with some saying they were glad the others "got a few quid".

But others mistakenly believed gardaí would not get the €1,000 pay rise in September.

There is also a group that believes it should get the new deal on top of its own deal.

"Some are questioning it and asking why are they not getting it, as they are signed up to the same Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA)," said the source.

The new deal, announced by Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe this week, will be paid to all public servants except gardaí, who had brokered their own deal.

Also excluded are those secondary school teachers who have not signed up to the Lansdowne Road deal.

The new pay pact was agreed with unions after gardaí were offered the €50m payout following the strike threat last November.

In response, other unions in the public sector had threatened a free-for-all of pay claims and industrial action.

These unions made the argument that gardaí who had not signed up to the Lansdowne Road deal and threatened to break the law by going on strike were being treated better than their members.

Fianna Fáil public expenditure spokesman Dara Calleary said he wasn't concerned that the GRA had been left out of the talks.

"They had a deal which was given to them specifically at the end of last October because of the Labour Court," he said.

"Their deal was the precedent for the announcement, so in effect what was announced was applied to the gardaí beforehand."

Meanwhile the GRA has written to Mr Donohoe seeking an urgent meeting over its exclusion from the pay negotiations.

These pay talks have delivered an accelerated pay rise of €1,000 for 250,000 public servants from April 1. The talks were held to address the "anomalies" that arose after the €50m pay deal for gardaí.

Irish Independent

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