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Gardaí to vote on new roster proposal as GRA expresses 'serious concern'

Rank-and-file members advised new working roster is ‘adverse’ to garda employment conditions.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

GARDA REPRESENTATIVE GROUPS are set to ballot members on proposed rosters that rank and file representatives have said are “adverse changes” to their conditions of employment, The Journal has learned. 

As previously reported, difficult talks have been ongoing within the force on new rosters that would see response regular units work a four-day shift rotation of twelve-hour shifts each.

Detective gardaí and other “non-core” units such as Community Policing would work more regular office hours of eight-hour shifts. 

This has caused significant disquiet among garda members and comes at a time when gardaí are engaged in pay talks. 

Sources have said that the main group unhappy with the change in rostering arrangements are members of the force not on response duty – this includes investigators and specialist units. 

Talks on the working hours have been taking place in Westmanstown, Dublin. Following the delivery of a proposed new roster in recent days with a new outline of the recommended changes, the Garda Representative Association (GRA) and Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) both met today to discuss the recommendations. 

The Journal contacted both the GRA and AGSI for comment – the GRA declined to comment while AGSI have not come back with a response as yet. 

Work-life balance

However, in a message to their members, which sources have provided to The Journal, the GRA sought to reassure members it has not agreed to the proposal. The body wrote:

A number of issues were identified within the proposal that cause serious concern and now require further clarity and explanation.

“Specifically, it is our view that the proposal contains some adverse changes to our current terms and conditions of employment, including earnings, increased cost of living and will have a potential negative impact on work-life balance. Concerns were also raised relating to the loss of predictability in rosters,” it read. 

It is understood a meeting will take place in Garda Headquarters on Friday between Commissioner Drew Harris with the representative associations.

It is believed that the current Covid-19 roster has been further extended to the end of October to facilitate a ballot by the representative bodies.

In February the GRA issued correspondence to its members warning that steps may have to be taken to ensure all units retained their current hours.

The memo, sent on 10 February, noted: “Garda Management clearly indicated that this is their final position, and the position of the Garda Commissioner who is insisting on an 8-hour shift pattern.”

Additional reporting by Garreth MacNamee

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