Row over garda rosters has reached ‘serious impasse’ 11,500 gardaí warned


Anne-Marie Walsh

A row over rosters has reached a “serious impasse” 11,500 gardaí have been warned.

In a message sent this evening, Philip McAnenly, general secretary of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), says talks at a conciliation council ended without agreement today.

He said Commissioner Drew Harris had no further proposal “to break the deadlock that has arisen”.

Tension between the commissioner and gardaí over rosters comes as their leave is being cancelled during a visit by US President Joe Biden next month.

The commissioner wants the dispute referred to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) but garda representative bodies claim that internal dispute mechanisms have not been exhausted.

Over 250 members of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) marched to garda headquarters in the Phoenix Park earlier this month and demanded immediate talks.

Agsi has warned that it is willing to consider “all forms of industrial action” and has not ruled out a blue flu type protest.

They claim proposed new rosters are not family friendly and will mean 47 extra working days a year for more than half its members.

Gardaí will work shorter shifts over more days under the proposals.

“This morning the GRA attended a reconvened meeting of the Garda Conciliation Council and, unfortunately, this meeting closed without any agreement and we now face a serious impasse,” said Mr McAnenly’s message.

He said its central executive committee will meet as soon as possible and consider the implications.

“We also note that our annual delegate conference opens on April 25 and we will be guided by our delegates as to the appropriate response to this development,” he said.

He said the conciliation council meeting opened on March 28.

Mr McAnenly said it was a meeting the association had understood had been called to progress a plan that would allow the parties reach agreement on rosters.

He said the GRA negotiating team sought further engagement on Tuesday to resolve any concerns management may have relating to a rosters proposal it submitted on January 9 this year.

The meeting was adjourned to allow the commissioner an opportunity to respond, he said.

“However, on reconvening this morning the garda management team once again conveyed the commissioner’s position that he believed all internal procedures are now concluded and his preference is to bring the matter to the Workplace Relations Commission.

“The commissioner had no further proposal to break the deadlock that has arisen and the meeting ended.”

In a statement An Garda Síochána management said: “The commissioner has said it is important that whatever garda roster is in place serves the public and supports the most vulnerable in society, ensures the health and wellbeing of gardaí, and allows the commissioner to effectively and efficiently manage the organisation within the budget available.

“The commissioner is continuing his efforts to find a compromise on rosters.”