Belfast Telegraph

Garda strike called off after last-ditch offer addresses 'historic wrongs'

A threatened strike by garda sergeants and inspectors has been lifted.

The decision was made after 11th-hour interventions by the state's top industrial relations mediators who tabled an improved pay offer and quicker implementation.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), which represents about 2,000 officers, said historic wrongs had been put right in the negotiations and its members had secured improved salaries.

"The AGSI have gained an uplift in the income of all our members, the details of which will be circulated to the national executive and will be subsequently balloted upon," AGSI president Antoinette Cunningham said.

The organisation said getting access to the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court for the first time were key successes in a four-year campaign for union recognition.

The pay rise put forward by the state mediators works out at several thousand euro with about 4,500 euro on a rent allowance, which is set to be included in basic pay, and 1,459 euro for the 15-minute handover periods between shifts.

Other benefits include an additional premium of 15 euro for every annual leave day due to the frequency of officers being forced to sacrifice planned holidays when called on duty.

The leaders of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) were also considering an offer.

Amid the threat of 12,500 gardai joining the strike a contingency policing plan had been put in place with 78 garda stations opening around the country.

Counties Mayo, Galway and Donegal would have had one station open each.

There was also the threat of sanction hanging over any officer who did not make themselves available for work when asked, following a direct order from Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan. It is illegal for gardai to strike or to induce colleagues to strike.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny also revealed that legislation was being drawn up to allow garda representatives to be treated like any other union and get formal rights to access the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court for future industrial relations issues.

Tanaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald welcomed the lifting of the strike threat.

"This has been an intensive period of negotiation with AGSI and I would like to commend all who have been involved in these complex discussions for engaging in this process in good faith and for their commitment to finding a resolution," she said.

The Tanaiste also paid tribute to the mediators for helping to avoid the first in four days of planned walkouts.


From Belfast Telegraph