Belfast Telegraph

Threat of widespread strike lifted as gardai vote to accept pay deal

Grassroots gardai have backed a pay deal - ending the threat of a widespread policing strike.

About three-quarters of the 10,500-strong Garda Representative Association (GRA) voted "yes" to a Labour Court proposal to end a dispute.

Shortly after counting in the ballot finished, a GRA spokeswoman said: "The vote was recorded 75.2% 'Yes' against 24.8% 'No'.

"Turnout was 69% of members of Garda rank entitled to register their preference in this ballot."

The GRA's central executive committee will meet on Tuesday to discuss the implications of the outcome, she added.

Middle-ranking officers in the 2,500-strong Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (Agsi) have yet to vote on the Labour Court deal.

But the backing of the GRA in effect lifts the threat of mass industrial action by gardai.

Tanaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said no-one wanted to see industrial action that would have damaged the hard-earned reputation of the force.

"The independent recommendation of the Labour Court sought to address the concerns that have been articulated by the representative bodies in relation to their pay and conditions, the pay and conditions of new recruits, and their access to the statutory dispute resolution bodies," she said.

"The outcome is one which is in the best interests of An Garda Siochana and the community they serve so well.

"My department and I now look forward to working with the GRA towards progressing access to the statutory resolution bodies and their engagement with the Public Service Pay Commission."

The Labour Court deal struck last month in 11th-hour talks - which averted a planned policing walkout on four Fridays during November - includes a rent allowance of about 4,500 euro from the start of next year.

It also offers a 1,459 euro payment for the 15-minute shift handover period and a 1,500 euro payment for holidays because of the frequency with which officers sacrifice days off when called on duty.

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