Sunday 19 January 2020

Mid ranking gardaí lodging claim for 16.5pc pay rise following threats of industrial action

AGSI president Antoinette Cunningham. Photo: Damien Eagers
AGSI president Antoinette Cunningham. Photo: Damien Eagers

Anne-Marie Walsh

Mid-ranking gardaí threatening a campaign of industrial action are lodging a claim for a 16.5pc pay rise.

The move was announced as negotiators met the Tanaiste for crisis talks today after they accused the Department of Justice of reneging on a commitment to get them to back the Lansdowne Road deal.

A team from the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) attended talks at the Department of Justice in Dublin after threatening to join rank and file gardai who are holding four days of strikes next month.

The association sought the meeting after claiming the department failed to deliver on a promise that they could negotiate directly on their members’ pay in future.

President Antoinette Cunningham said this was a key commitment that got members to vote in favour of the Lansdowne Road deal in August.

She said she held a meeting with Minister Fitzgerald this evening at which there was a "frank exchange of views".

“We are happy that we could articulate the concerns of our members. We also believe the Minister has a better understanding of our concerns following a meeting with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform last week.

“AGSI also officially lodged a pay claim of 16.5pc with the Minister. Minister Fitzgerald told us that our pay claim was ‘an all-Government’ decision but that she would come back to us in due course. We wait with interest for her response on how matters can be progressed.

“At this juncture we will continue as planned and hold a Special Delegate Conference on Monday 17th October in Athlone at which matters relating to our pay strategy, pay restoration and industrial relations proposals will be discussed in detail.”

It is understood that the the pay claim, in a letter to the minister, does not specify a time-frame for the wage increase.

However, sources said the association is willing to negotiate the increase on a phased basis.

It may reflect recent pay rises lodged at the Luas and Dublin Bus, worth roughly 15pc over three years.

The minister has also invited the Garda Representative Association to talks as the force of 10,500 rank and file gardai prepare to strike next month.

They have announced strikes on November 4, 11, 18 and 25 despite being legally restricted from holding work stoppages.

The move came after delegates at a conference last week rejected a draft deal with the Department of Justice to get them to back the Lansdowne Road deal.

If it had been accepted, a freeze on pay increments would have been lifted and new recruits would have had a €4,017 rent allowance restored.

Gardai would have had to work an extra 15 hours a year, which they had done in past, but there would have been more flexibility in how the overtime was allocated.

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