Saturday 18 November 2017

Senior civil servants won't join blanket ban on overtime

Anne-Marie Walsh, Industry Correspondent

A UNION representing 10,000 executive grade civil servants will not participate in a blanket overtime ban.

The Public Service Executive Union (PSEU) has decided not to join lower-paid clerical officers who are refusing to work extra hours in protest at the €1bn pay cut.

But its executive committee instructed members to support them by refusing to take on their work.

In a letter to branches, the union suggested an overtime ban would breach the public sector unions' assurance to the Labour Relations Commission not to ramp up action during new government talks.

Members of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions' Public Services Committee agreed they would not escalate their campaign but would continue ongoing industrial action.

"This union, in the context of the assurances given about non-escalation, is not proceeding with any additional ban on overtime over and above that in place up to last Friday," said the PSEU letter.

The Civil, Public & Services Union (CPSU), which instructed its 13,000 members to ban overtime for four weeks since Monday, has denied the move represented an escalation.

It has argued that members were already refusing to work overtime prior to this week.

However, it was up to members to decide whether they would work the extra hours before the ban was imposed.

Government departments have blamed the ban for impending delays in processing more than 20,000 social welfare payments from next week and an extra two-week wait for passport applications.

The ban also led to the closure of national museums on St Patrick's Day, and will shut them every Sunday until April 11.

The PSEU decision not to participate in the overtime ban comes as public sector unions enter a plenary session at talks with the Government on Monday.

Formal talks on an exchange of "pay for change", or public service reforms in return for a reversal of pay cuts, follow a week of discussions by individual sections of the public sector.

Meanwhile, SIPTU has cast doubt on the threat of all-out strikes at the fire service.


A spokesperson for the union said work stoppages "were not on the agenda" despite an overwhelming vote by firefighters in favour of industrial action.

However, John Kidd, the chairman of the union's Dublin Fire Brigade Section, which voted 96pc in favour of indefinite strikes, warned that his 960 members are likely to demand that strike notice is served at a meeting next week.

"Members are very angry. The last time firefighters went on strike was 22 years ago, over six jobs. Now there are over 100 vacancies and just 30 new recruits," said Mr Kidd.

Irish Independent

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