By Eugene McGloin
THE STRIKE by 12,500 Gardai -- due to begin at 7am today -- has been deferred.
Members will now ballot on sets of detailed proposals presented by the Labour Court last night, Thursday.
Industrial action by Gardai had been proposed for each Friday in November.
had already been delivered and the first-ever strikes would have
involved 10,000 rank and file, plus 2,500 middle management members.
Government welcomed last night's outcome; industrial peace in the
State's police service has been achieved for several months, at least,
as ballots pend.
But the price of that peace is significantly greater than it was even 72 hours ago.
Then, it was estimated at €30 million euro -- none of which appeared as a provision in the recent 2017 Budget.
elements included in the peace package are overtime and premium pay
boosts, significant rent allowance for all members plus a new pre-shift
this week the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) facilitated moves
which sought to solve the industrial relations crux.
WRC proposals came from the Department of Justice but were unanimously
rejected by the Garda Representative Association (GRA), which has 10,000
GRA's members this week also indicated individually they would
massively disregard what was, effectively, a countermanding by the Garda
Commissioner of today's strike.
Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan cancelled leave and ordered all members of her police service to present to work this morning, Friday.
on rosters will be there alright this morning, but not because of her
order nor, some will now argue, through her (pockmarked) sense of
authority in the crisis.
both main Garda representative associations have now had an (historic)
'taste' of formal access to the State's industrial relations apparatus.
This morning those associations, in all but name, are 'premiership' trade unions.
They can collectively bargain, but add in their implicit right to withdraw labour and pursue industrial relations issues.
the other hand, they will find scant future backing from trade
unionists when/if they claim 'special' treatment. It cuts two ways.
AGSI President Antoinette Cunningham handled the sense of history succinctly in public late last night.
She said ''a fundamental
and historic wrong'' had been put right as a direct result of her
Association's sustained four-year campaign to gain access to the
Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court.
remains to be seen which party in the Dail now pushes the envelope to
enact the legislation putting all that in place, in line with EU
It also remains to be be seen if a 'new broom' -- perhaps, a civilian Commissioner even -- emerges as an issue in 2017.
week retired Garda, some who served at senior level, identified issues
besides pay -- tied to morale, management, leadership, manpower,
Carty, a retired senior officer, said yesterday that Commissioner
O'Sullivan ''did not help matters with her repeated public
declarations'' that she had ''all the resources necessary.''
did not lay all the blame at the Commissioner's feet. Pay, he wrote in
''The Irish Independent,'' is the catalyst which triggered the current
the treatment of the service itself in the last eight years had caused a
''seismic shift'' in thinking within all Garda sections, he wrote.
Said Carty: ''Many Gardai feel undervalued and alienated. Reasonable expectations and basic needs have been overlooked.
of problems being addressed directly, they have been fobbed off --
instead of real support they got lip service and slogans.''
Gardai, wrote Carty yesterday, ''apparently have had enough of this rhetoric, whitewash and bamboozlement.''
the Labour Court has recommended early 2017 as the implementation date
for most of its proposed increases, fuller details of which will emerge
the 'landscape' changed several times as the Labour Court, chaired by
Kevin Foley, worked hard to fine-tune its recommendations.
Shortly after 10pm
last night, middle rank managers in the Association of Garda Sergeants
and Inspectors (AGSI) were the first to ''call off'' today's strike
One hour later
the 31 members executive of the GRA -- meeting in the same Phibsboro
building overlooking Dalymount Park -- deferred today's strike action,
Earlier yesterday the GRA 'cut some slack' for the Government and for senior Garda management trying to plan strike cover.
few as 78 stations across the country might have been able to open
today if the strike had gone ahead, ''The Irish Independent'' has
The GRA identified for members 18 categories which could be exempted from today's planned strike. These included:-
01. Emergency Response Unit [ERU];
02. Regional Support Units [RSU];
03. Garda Technical Bureau [Mapping, Fingerprints, Ballistics, Photographic];
04. Critical Incident/Major Emergency response capabilities;
05. Communications Rooms;
06. Protection & Escort Personnel/Units;
07. National Surveillance Unit;
08. Static Protection Posts;
09. Special Detective Unit;
10. Intelligence Sections;
11. Witness Security Programme Unit;
12. VIP protection;
13. Garda Drugs Organised Crime Bureau;
14. Special Dedicated Embassy Patrols;
15. Immigration Units;
16. Forensic Collision Investigators;
17. Attend to prosecutions in court;
18. Student and Probationer Gardaí.