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Rank-and-file gardaí to withdraw labour on four dates in November

The proposed dates for the strike are November 4, 11, 18 and 25.

Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated at: 7.30pm

GARDA REPRESENTATIVE BODY the GRA has confirmed this evening that it will launch strike action on four separate days in November, following the rejection of pay proposals from the Department of Justice.

General Secretary of the GRA Pat Ennis said 10,500 gardaí would not be reporting for work on four dates if their pay is not fully restored. The proposed dates for the strike are November 4, 11, 18 and 25.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One News this evening from a meeting of the body in Tullamore, Ennis said it was not a “blue flu” action, similar to the protests that saw thousands of members of the force call in sick in the late 1990s.

“Members will not be reporting for duty. It’s not any sort of a blue flu action at all,” he told presenter Brian Dobson.

It’s a withdrawal of our services until such time as our pay and conditions are addressed appropriately.

The action would be mounted by “all GRA members” unless their issues were addressed, he said. Emergency and 999 services would be kept in place, he added – pointing out that management had the option of calling on “others ranks and sections of the force” to cover for striking members.

Questioned about the legality of the action Ennis said:

Individual members have that right if they choose to take [strike action] but the legislation is one of the issues we’re pursuing through the review of An Garda Síochána under Haddington Road – trade union status, that the association is entitled to the freedom to withdraw labour that our membership are deprived of.

Responding to a question from Dobson pointing out that the association didn’t have that right currently, he said “that’s what the association are embarking on”.

“It’s a momentous day. It’s unprecedented, but that’s what our conference decided on today.

It’s not a choice that was taken easily.

garda Garda sergeants and inspectors marching through Dublin in May of this year. Source: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

The Association for Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), which represents higher-ranked members, are also considering a campaign of industrial action. A special conference has been called for 17 October in Athlone “where these matters will be discussed and proposals relating to industrial action will be tabled,” a statement today said.

The deal offered by the Department of Justice in recent days included a return to incremental pay and rent allowance measures for new recruits.

Is it illegal for gardaí to go on strike? 

TheJournal.ie undertook a recent FactCheck on this issue, addressing the statement: ‘It is illegal for gardaí to go on strike’. Our verdict was that that statement is mostly true.

Here are the main points from our research, and you can find the full piece here:

  • It is illegal for anyone to encourage a garda to withdraw their labour, so it would be illegal for the GRA, AGSI or any other association or union to organise a strike.
  • Under industrial relations legislation, gardaí are excluded from protections for striking workers.
  • The law is unclear as to whether or not it would be illegal for individual members of An Garda Síochána to go on strike as there are no specific prohibitions.
  • BUT they are likely to open themselves up to prosecution or civil liability if they do, because they do not have the same protections as other workers.

- With reporting from Daragh Brophy and Michelle Hennessey. 

Factcheck: Is it illegal for gardaí to go on strike? >

CSO report says gardaí downgraded seriousness of some crimes “without justification” >

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