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Garda dispute

Garda group: Commissioner 'lacks logic' as he introduces roster despite ongoing dispute

Both the AGSI and the GRA had voted against accepting new working time arrangements for gardaí.

THE GROUP REPRESENTING rank and file gardaí have said the Garda Commissioner “lacks logic” as he introduces a new roster while they claim there are not enough gardaí to fulfill staffing levels of the new arrangement.

The Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has been in a dispute between the Garda Representative Association (GRA) and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) over new proposed working hours.

Both garda representative groups, AGSI as well as the Garda Representative Association (GRA) had voted against accepting the arrangements for gardaí.

Harris met with the garda groups earlier today where he told them that he was implementing the roster regardless of their opposition.  

The roster will see gardaí come off a four on four off 12 hour shift rotation and put them on a six on four off 10 hour shift roster from 6 November.  

The GRA attacked the move in a statement this evening and said that there are not enough gardaí to meet the requirements of the Commissioner’s roster.

“We strongly dispute the Commissioner’s assertions listed above and it is our position that his reasoning lacks logic and fails to hold up to scrutiny.

“In 2022 the Commissioner stated that there were not sufficient members to resource a fifth unit and this year we have even less members on the frontline due to a well-publicised recruitment and retention crisis,” the group said. 

The GRA statement went onto claim that the Commissioner’s proposal will “have a negative impact on our members’ wellbeing with less members on the ground at any given time”.

They said that it will cause an “escalated dependence on overtime” and will “seriously damage” members’ work-life balance as gardaí will be forced to work 25 extra days per year.

“This comes at a time when our members continue to struggle with a cost of living crisis with extra costs in both childcare, travel and other work-related expenses,” the statement said. 

The AGSI released a statement which also criticises the move – its members had marched on Garda Headquarters and they had considered a proposal of withdrawing their labour at their annual delegate conference earlier this year. 

AGSI General Secretary, Antoinette Cunningham said the gardaí had changed rosters during Covid-19 pandemic and were promised they would return to normal after that crisis.

In its statement it said it was now considering its options on how to respond to the Commissioner’s move. 

“The AGSI National Executive will meet our legal team in the coming days to discuss the implications of this decision,” Cunningham added. 

In a message to gardaí the Commissioner said he remains committed to reaching agreement with all parties on a future roster with the assistance of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

He added that he has written to the WRC to seek “urgent assistance” to move forward with negotiations.

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