Thursday 22 February 2018

Fitzgerald to give gardaí access to the Labour Court

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald Photo: Fergal Phillips
Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald Photo: Fergal Phillips
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald is to fast-track the process for giving gardaí access to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and Labour Court, the Irish Independent can reveal.

A ruling from the European social committee three years ago stated that officers should be allowed to engage with the State's industrial relations mechanisms.

The logistics of this process is under consideration, with a report on the issue due to be received by the Justice Minister in December.

However, it is understood that Ms Fitzgerald informed the Association of Garda Sergeant and Inspectors (AGSI) in recent days that she is to begin formulating legislation in the coming days.

Sources said this would lay the groundwork for giving gardaí earlier access to the WRC and Labour Court than had previously been anticipated.

Ms Fitzgerald is understood to have made the offer as part of her ongoing talks with the AGSI, which has lodged an official claim requesting pay restoration amounting to 16.5pc.

The body is considering a campaign of industrial action, after colleagues in the Garda Representatives Association (GRA) voted in favour of withdrawing services for four days next month.

A source said Ms Fitzgerald had stressed to the AGSI that she was "absolutely committed" to providing them with access to the WRC and Labour Court.

"That will require legislative change, so the Tánaiste has asked her officials to start work on preparing the necessary legislation," the source said.

The AGSI is to hold a special delegate conference in Athlone on Monday to discuss the ongoing dispute with the Government.

Separately, the Department of Justice is understood to have written to the GRA to formally invite them to discussions next Tuesday. A number of meetings have already taken place with the body which represents rank-and-file gardaí, but they are still scheduled to carry out "a unilateral withdrawal of services" on November 4, 11, 18 and 25.

Irish Independent

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