Friday 21 October 2016

Law and order must be preserved above all

Published 29/09/2016 | 02:30

The picket line at the Broadstone Depot. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick/Collins
The picket line at the Broadstone Depot. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick/Collins

Walking off the job should be a last resort for any profession. It illustrates a failure of workers and management to resolve whatever disagreement about employment terms is in dispute.

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The industrial relations machinery of the State is substantial and thorough. It affords ample opportunity for both sides to thrash out their difficulties in a mediated environment, allowing for every possible resolution.

In recent times, the strike has returned as a regular phenomenon, which is a throwback to the bad old days.

The Luas strike earlier this year has now rolled into the Dublin Bus strike, with further strikes threatened in Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann.

Although their colleagues in the INTO and TUI are not in dispute, the ASTI are now on the brink of strike.

While those disputes would cause disruption to the travelling public and families, they are not on a scale to the industrial action announced by rank-and-file Gardaí.

The Garda Representative Association's four days of withdrawal of services is a severe escalation of the infamous Blue Flu of 1998.

The dispute over pay and conditions has dramatically expanded into a threat to law and order in the country.

Gardaí are restricted from going on strike, as it is illegal for anyone to encourage them to withdraw their labour. However, there is a grey area in relation to whether individual members can withdraw their services.

The work stoppages are a cause of enormous public concern and require more than the hands-off approach of the Government to other industrial disputes.

The public require reassurance that law and order will be preserved and the policing of the streets is paramount.

Irish Independent

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