AGSI members of gardaí to go on strike in November

Delegates from around the country have been meeting in Athlone

AGSI members of gardaí to go on strike in November

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Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald says it is "disappointing" that the  Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) are to go on strike next month.

The Tánaiste also says she "remains focused on finding a pathway to negotiate" with members.

Over 12,000 gardai are expected to withdraw their labour for the four Fridays in November in an unprecedented move.

The AGSI has overwhelmingly voted to mount an escalating campaign of industrial action.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA), representing rank and file gardaí, had already decided to withdraw their labour on November 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th.

The AGSI says it is not a strike, as individual officers will not be reporting for duty.

In addition, AGSI members will not engage in any Pulse-related activity next Friday, October 21st and October 28th.

While on the four Fridays in November, individual members will not turn up for work.

But the Central Executive Committee of the GRA says members of specialist units should not take part in the action.

The AGSI insisted earlier talks on pay restoration and pay negotiations failed to produce meaningful results for their members.

It says the matter is now in the Government’s hands, and they will continue to meet with them.

AGSI President Antoinette Cunningham says it is up to the Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan to organise emergency cover for the garda strikes.

John Jacob, the AGSI general-secretary, told Newstalk Drive this move by his members has been a long time coming. 

AGSI’s days of action:

Friday 21 October (7.00am-7.00am)
AGSI members will not log onto the Pulse system or engage in any Pulse-related activities

Friday 28 October (7.00am-7.00am)
AGSI members will not use Pulse and will refuse to undertake any administrative duties such as detailing members for duty, processing files or responding to correspondence from management in relation to returns or other matters

4th, 11th, 18th and 25th November (7.00am-7.00am)
Individual members will withdraw labour on these dates to coincide with the GRA industrial relations action for maximum impact

Tánaiste statement

In a statement, Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said: "It is disappointing that the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors have announced their intention to take industrial action.

"This is particularly the case as they have not balloted their members on the taking of this action. Indeed, it is just seven weeks since their membership voted to accept the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA) by over 70%.

"This strong endorsement of the LRA was on foot of an agreement reached between my department and AGSI which addressed in a very positive way the issues raised by AGSI in the course of negotiations, which took place over a number of months.

"In particular, it sought to address the concerns that they have articulated in relation to the pay of new recruits, the additional hours that gardaí are required to work, their access to pay determination and dispute resolution bodies, and the completion of the Review of An Garda Síochána.

"The agreement included very significant benefits, including the restoration of the rent allowance worth over €4,000 or 17% annually to new recruits."

'Pathway to negotiate'

Ms Fitzgerald added that she remains focused on finding a pathway to negotiate with AGSI in a way which is fair to their members, the taxpayer and other public sector workers.

"This must be within the parameters of the very real constraints on public sector pay," she said.

"In relation to pay determination negotiations generally there is a commitment to the garda representative associations to have direct access on the same basis as all other unions and representative bodies to future pay determination mechanisms including the Public Service Pay Commission and subsequent central pay negotiations.

"The work of the commission will facilitate this engagement with public sector unions and representative bodies and other stakeholders on the successor to the Lansdowne Road Agreement. The Public Service Pay Commission will report by the middle of next year."

She also reiterated her commitment to the garda representative bodies having access to the statutory dispute resolution bodies - the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court.

"I expect the review of An Garda Síochána that is underway at present under the chairmanship of Mr John Horgan will map out what needs to be done to achieve this," she concluded.