Sunday 11 December 2016

Sergeants and inspectors to start second day of action today

Robin Schiller

Published 28/10/2016 | 02:30

AGSI President Antoinette Cunningham pictured alongside Solicitor Michael Hegarty and John Jacob General Secretary. Negotiations including the AGSI and the Garda Representative Association (GRA) are set to continue today in a bid to avoid all-out strike on four days next month. Pic Steve Humphreys
AGSI President Antoinette Cunningham pictured alongside Solicitor Michael Hegarty and John Jacob General Secretary. Negotiations including the AGSI and the Garda Representative Association (GRA) are set to continue today in a bid to avoid all-out strike on four days next month. Pic Steve Humphreys

Members of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) will carry out a second day of industrial action today as talks continue between the Government and Garda unions to avert an all-out strike.

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AGSI members will refrain from using the Pulse system for 24 hours from 7am today.

While most records are input by rank-and-file gardaí, sergeants and inspectors review the records - an action they will refrain from today for the second time in as many weeks.

Negotiations including the AGSI and the Garda Representative Association (GRA) are also set to continue today in a bid to avoid all-out strike on four days next month.

With 10,500 rank-and-file gardaí and 2,000 mid-ranking officers expected to strike, front-line policing would be left to gardaí of superintendent rank and above, as well as the Garda reserve and probationers.

Although the GRA has asked members of the ERU and the Regional Support Unit (RSU) -who provide an armed response across the country - not to partake in industrial action, their numbers are not sufficient to provide an adequate emergency response.

Armed gardaí are stationed at Dublin Port, Dublin Airport as well as the Dáil and nearby embassies, with these duties requiring at least eight officers on a single shift.

Talks could lead to a deal that would provide officers with more pay, but would not be seen as breaching the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Union negotiators and Government officials have been examining draft proposals that were agreed by the Justice Department last month, but refused by Garda delegates at a special conference.

GRA general secretary Pat Ennis also wrote to members this week, in which he stressed that it was of vital importance that members are not seen to entice or induce other members not to go to work.

Sources have said that rank-and-file gardaí, while in support of the strike, are at odds with what will happen if the strikes go ahead.

"Nobody really knows what is happening, because nobody can be seen talking about it. Nothing official is being done," a source said.

"It's all up in the air at the moment among gardaí on the ground.

"Gardaí are fully behind the industrial action, and next Friday's strike is expected to go ahead. They'll then take it from there after that."

Among the demands from the GRA are the restoration of pay relativities, no additional free hours and the reversal of pay cuts from 2008.

Irish Independent

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