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Friday 9 December 2016

Mid-ranking gardai won't rule out taking strike action on pay

AGSI president Antoinette Cunningham
AGSI president Antoinette Cunningham

Mid-ranking gardai will not rule out downing tools alongside rank and file gardai next month at today's historic meeting on industrial relations within An Garda Siochana.

For the first time in its 38-year history, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) is holding a Special Delegate Conference in Athlone to discuss "industrial relations proposals".

This comes after talks to restore pay and obtain direct pay negotiations "have failed to produce meaningful results for the association's 2,000 sergeants and inspectors", according to a statement by the AGSI.

AGSI president Antoinette Cunningham has previously said "all options for industrial action will be looked at as the time for talking has now passed and members are seeking action on pay."

An AGSI spokeswoman last night confirmed that possible strike action has not been ruled out as 151 members of the association meet to discuss industrial relations issues.

They include pay restoration of 16.5pc, access to direct pay negotiations with the Workplace Relations Commission and Labour Court on future pay deals and other issues.

However, possible strike action may well be on the cards after 10,500 members of the Garda Representative Association this month voted overwhelmingly in support of what is effectively strike action, even though gardai are legally disbarred from doing so.

The GRA is gearing up for a massive "withdrawal of service" over four 24-hour periods next month, scheduled to take place from 7am to 7am on four Fridays.

"The long and winding road of pay talks have led us to nowhere and in fact we are no further forward today than we were four years ago when we started this process," Ms Cunningham said. She described mid-ranking gardai as being "disillusioned but resolute" in their quest for better pay.

Motivated

"We have been taking the temperature of members for the past number of months and I can honestly say, I've never seen men and women in our 31 branches as motivated to take action on their pay," she said.

Meanwhile, Social Protection minister Leo Varadkar yesterday warned a garda strike could change their "relationship with the public forever".

He also told Marian Finucane on RTE Radio One it would give criminals a "carte blanc to break the law," if gardai engage in strike action.

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