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Thursday 13 December 2018

Explainer: Everything you need to know about the latest pay row to hit gardaí

Dónall Ó Cualáin Picture: Damien Eagers
Dónall Ó Cualáin Picture: Damien Eagers

Niall O'Connor

The country's 45 Garda chief superintendents are today preparing to join their junior counterparts and embark on industrial action, the Irish Independent reports. We look at everything you need to know.

What exactly is happening?

Officers of two senior ranks will refuse to take on additional duties in a row over pay. It is the first time this has happened in the history of the State.

The Association of Superintendents, which has about 165 members, has already announced it will not take part in the force's modernisation and renewal programme.

In practice, this means members are now on a work-to-rule until a resolution is found.

Sources last night confirmed that the chief superintendents, or superintendent bosses as they are known, are preparing to today notify Acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin of a similar course of action.

What is the dispute about?

Both superintendents and chief superintendents say the Government has reneged on a pay agreement struck around the time rank-and-file gardaí were on the cusp of strike action in November 2016.

Central to the dispute is an anomaly that sees these officers suffer a pay cut of up to €6,000 once they are promoted from the rank of inspector.

Superintendents also claim to have twice been refused access to the Labour Court - despite previous assurances from Government that access would be extended to all gardaí.

Why is the deal causing a problem now?

The Association of Garda Superintendents general secretary, Denis Ferry, said the scenario means that officers who are promoted end up losing out financially.

The organisation also said it was under the clear understanding the deal struck by other Garda unions, the GRA and AGSI, in November 2016 would also apply to its members.

"That has left us in a situation where there is now a significant pay anomaly," Mr Ferry said.

"We now have people being promoted and they are probably paid between €4,000-€6,000 less than the inspector and that is unprecedented."

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said he wanted to see a resolution as soon as possible.

"Work is ongoing to resolve this issue.

"I am in ongoing contact with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in an effort to find a resolution," he added.

What is An Garda Siochana saying?

An Garda Síochána said the issue is a matter between the relevant superintendent bodies and the Government. Meanwhile, sources last night insisted removing the anomaly would cost the State just €1m a year.

Irish Independent

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