THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) will hold a two day meeting starting today to consider feedback from members who have been holding regional meetings across the country over the last couple of weeks.
Last night, gardaí in South Dublin passed a motion calling for the GRA to establish guidelines for a work-to-rule, commencing 19 February. This would see gardaí withdrawing any goodwill activities within their roles such as using their personal phones or personal protective equipment or refusing to attend calls that are not a garda matter.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie ahead of today’s meeting, John Parker, President of the GRA said the decisions made at meetings were a “reflection of views of divisions and they’ll all be brought before the executive for consideration”.
“Irate is too mild a word for how people are feeling,” he said. “Members are livid with the situation and they’re sick of having to apoligise to people for turning up late and not having appropriate resources. They want to be able to go out to the old lady who has been burgled but she has to wait four or five hours because she’s on a list.”
While the chances of industrial action across the board as soon as next Tuesday are not high, Parker said that if the meeting comes out with a particular message, the association will act.
“The GRA will discuss all items that have been passed on from divisional meetings and open meetings, and the campaign ahead,” he said.
Last night, gardaí in South Dublin also passed a motion which would see no garda work in the prison service if prison officers were to go on strike.
Jim Mitchell, Deputy General Secretary for the Prison Officers Association told TheJournal.ie that if its members were to strike, it would be a matter for the management to work out who to put in their place.
“We take on board the sentiment and we appreciate it because there’s the exact same feeling among our guys,” Mitchell said. “There are more prisoners coming in and less officers to deal with them, people are getting assaulted and injured and still coming into work and then they say they’re going to reduce Sunday time and take away pay for night duty.”
Members of the gardaí, fire fighters, healthcare workers, paramedics and prison officers are all due to attend an open meeting on Monday of the 24/7 Frontline Alliance. John Redmond of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors said today that the Alliance will be hearing from members from the floor about how the cuts are affecting them and whether there is an appetite for future cuts.
“I already know that members from the AGSI have made it clear thay there is no question of them accepting further cuts to their pay,” he said.
Redmond said it is not likely that a decision will be made on collective action at Monday’s meeting but he said the Alliance was meeting regularly to discuss options for it’s members.
“We’re meeting on a regular basis and we’re obviously not meeting to have cups of tea and cucumber sandwiches,” he said. “We’re meeting to discuss action.”