Wednesday 23 October 2019

Drivers urged not to put their foot down as speed camera staff go on strike

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA

Anne-Marie Walsh

Speed camera operators have appealed to drivers not to put their foot down when they go on strike today.

Road safety may be under threat if motorists view the industrial action that began at 6am as an opportunity to ignore speed limits.

The camera van operators who are walking off the job during the 24-hour stoppage work for GoSafe, which runs the service for the State.

They are seeking a pay rise and claim they do not get adequate breaks. The workers also claim that their toilet facilities are not good enough.

Siptu organiser Brendan Carr said they are calling on motorists to respect speed limits during the stoppage.

He said they are aware of the implications the strike will have on the vital role they play in road safety. But he claimed they have been left with no option. "Our members are only taking this action as a last resort because of the intransigence of management who have refused to address their concerns relating to health and safety and their conditions of employment," he said.

"These workers have attempted to address these problems through the State industrial relations mechanisms."

He said the Labour Court issued a recommendation that the employer should recognise Siptu, but this was ignored.

Mr Carr said Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has declined to intervene.

However, a spokesperson for the minister said he is unable to intervene in the row because it is between a contracted service provider and its employees.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin accused Mr Flanagan of washing his hands of the matter.

He said the minister and gardaí are signatories to the contract, and Mr Flanagan should insist that the company begins talks with the union "to avoid any heightened risk to road users this weekend".

"We know that excessive speed is involved in many cases of road traffic death or injury," he said.

"While some people might joke about the speed cameras being out of operation, the sad truth is that over 1,000 people have died on our roads in the last six years, and tens of thousands have been injured."

He said 149 people died last year.

The speed camera operators have warned that they will ramp up the industrial action to an all-out strike if the row is not resolved.

A spokesperson for GoSafe did not respond to a request for a comment. The Department of Transport and Garda press office did not comment when asked about contingency plans during the strike.

Irish Independent

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