CPSU to consider ending passport dispute
THE dispute at the Passport Office may end today.
There were positive signs last night that the union for lower-paid civil servants will call off industrial action that has led to a backlog of 50,000 passport applications at a meeting this morning.
It is understood that the executive committee of the Civil, Public and Services Union (CPSU) will today consider lifting a ban on overtime that has led to chaos in the service at this morning's meeting.
However, it may continue low-level action in other sections of the civil sector until members ballot on the proposed public service agreement.
CPSU general secretary Blair Horan said the new draft public service agreement was a "significant achievement".
He said the union had achieved most of its main aims in the new deal.
While they had not got a reversal of wage losses in 2010, there was a guarantee of no further pay cuts until 2014.
They had also achieved priority for the lower paid in possible restoration of pay levels, and no change to flexible and work/life balance working arrangements.
Despite the provision for the lower paid, the Croke Park deal may face opposition from CPSU members, demanding the pay cuts be reversed this year.
Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin last night insisted that Passport Office staff now had "every reason" to end their go-slow. He said it was unacceptable that the dispute had led to a backlog of 50,000 applications and forced citizens to endure intolerable delays.
Mr Martin urged the CPSU to direct their members to call off the industrial action.
"I am calling on the CPSU to resume normal working arrangements as soon as possible, particularly now that there was a conclusion to the public sector talks in Croke Park under the chairmanship of Kieran Mulvey," Mr Martin told the Dail. "There is every reason for the union to instruct its members to call off the action."
Mr Martin said if this occurred his department would move to eliminate the backlog of passport applications. Overtime would be facilitated, temporary staff would be recruited and staff would be redeployed to ease bottlenecks.
Mr Horan said the matter would be considered by the union's executive committee today.