Garda access to industrial relations systems delayed

The AGSI has claimed it is being excluded from discussions on the garda right to strike and accused the government of a lack of transparency

Garda access to industrial relations systems delayed

AGSI President Antoinette Cunningham

The association representing middle ranking gardaí has accused the government of a “lack of transparency” after it emerged officers will not be given access to the state’s industrial relations bodies until the end of the year at the earliest.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) has expressed its “deep disappointment” at a delay to legislation allowing garda access to the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court.

The association revealed it has also been excluded from a government working group set up to look at industrial relations structures within the force.

The new row follows a long running dispute over pay and conditions which nearly led to the first garda strike last year.

AGSI president Antoinette Cunningham said it is “very disturbing” that member associations would be excluded from the group while it discusses matters which are highly relevant to members of garda and sergeant rank:

“The working group has been established to look at matters including the right for Garda Síochána to strike or not,” she said. “I think it would be key for AGSI to be involved in that process.”

“I think it would be provocative to say the least that matters such as the right to strike or not would be established by a group where the key stakeholders involved in that have no access into that group – or certainly not membership of it.”

She said the internal Government and Garda Management working group will also explore matters including the John Horgan Report, the status of the association and how future industrial relations will work for gardaí.

The group has reportedly already met on on two occasions to discuss its terms of reference - however Ms Cunningham said the AGSI was never asked to contribute.

The association is calling on the Minister for Justice to immediately give the AGSI full membership of the working group so that “issues can be agreed in a process of consultation and engagement.”