GRA to withdraw garda services for four days in November

The AGSI is also meeting to consider options

GRA to withdraw garda services for four days in November

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The Garda Representative Association (GRA) says their members will withdraw services on four dates next month.

The association has voted for industrial action, up to and including a unilateral withdrawal of services, on November 4th, 11th, 18th and the 25th.

The GRA's Central Executive Committee yesterday unanimously rejected a proposal on pay from the Department of Justice.

The proposals put forward to the union included a commitment to restore increments, and the annual rent allowance of around €4,000.

In a statement, the GRA said: "Members of the Garda Representative Association are denied the civil rights afforded other workers and citizens.

"We are denied the civil right to withdraw our labour. There is an implied contract that the civil power will not abuse its police force.

"We have exhausted every channel of industrial relations open to us. Government has taken advantage of our limited rights. Our members feel that we have nowhere left to turn.

"Gardaí do a dangerous, difficult and often thankless job. Garda pay has fallen behind others. Our claim for pay restoration has been ignored."

Some 95% of the GRA membership have supported the move.

'Resolution through engagement'

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said: "I am disappointed to hear of the GRA's rejection of the agreement reached with my department last Friday and their announcement of their intention to take industrial action.

"The agreement addressed in a very positive way the issues raised by the GRA in the course of negotiations, which took place over a number of months.

"Resolution of any outstanding issues of concern to the GRA can only be addressed through engagement between the parties and my department continues to be available to discuss those issues.

"It would be most unfortunate if, rather than engaging further, action were to be contemplated that would not be in the best interests of our communities or An Garda Síochána," she adds.

A bill seeking to allow gardaí to go on strike was voted down last year.

The Industrial Relations (Members of the Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces) Bill from Labour's Michael McNamara was defeated at second stage last April.

GRA President Ciaran O'Neill says his members know the law.

Meanwhile the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) are also to meet to discuss possible industrial action.

The group is to host a special delegate conference on October 17th.