Wednesday 16 January 2019

Council seeking urgent talks with unions over brigade strike-threats

Dublin Fire Brigade members protests outside City Hall
Dublin Fire Brigade members protests outside City Hall

Dublin City Council is scrambling to organise talks with trade unions and Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) in an attempt to avoid a planned strike.

Council officials failed to respond yesterday to questions about who would attend the scene of major emergencies should DFB members strike as planned on March 18 and 27.

A serious dispute has arisen over plans to dismantle DFB's ambulance call and dispatch function.


The 24-hour work stoppages have been scheduled to begin at 9am on both days.

Trade union Siptu, which represents the vast majority of the 800 workers involved, announced its strike action on Monday .

Impact, which represents more than 80 DFB members, announced yesterday that it would also join the strike.

"The members voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action to oppose an attempt to break up the DFB Emergency Medical Service by removing its ambulance call and dispatch function," Impact said in a statement.

Both Siptu and Impact said yesterday that they had received no further contact from the council concerning talks to resolve the dispute, and added that they were available.

Last night, the council issued a statement calling for the intervention of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

It said it was "very disappointed" with the decision by the unions to serve strike notice.

The council said there had been "extensive consultations" with unions on the matter over the past two years.

It stressed that it had not sought to impose the change.

"The unions have nevertheless served strike notice, which is regrettable," it said.

The council added that it had asked the WRC to intervene "as a matter of urgency" to try to resolve the dispute.


It pointed to a Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) review published in December 2014 that it said expressed the view that current emergency ambulance control centre arrangements in the Dublin area were not configured to provide the best possible service to patients.

A spokesperson for Dublin Airport said it had a dedicated fire team that would not be affected by the un ions' strike action.

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