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GRA to approach Justice Minister over Garda Commissioner's attitude towards rostering

The motion was passed at a conference today.

THE GARDA REPRESENTATIVES Association (GRA) has agreed to approach the Minister for Justice about its “grave concerns” over the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris’s attitude to rosters.

The motion was passed at a Special Delegate Conference (SDC) today, where the members also approved the GRA’s policy around rosters, the effects of rosters on earnings and protections for members.

There is an ongoing dispute around Garda rosters. 

The new roster would introduce a new arrangement whereby gardaí, such as detectives and other specialist units, would work a full seven days followed by a two day rest period.

The gardaí at present are on a temporary four days on, four days off Covid-19 roster – before that they were on a six day on, three day off roster.

The new roster is focused on leaving regular response gardaí on the four-on-four-off but moving detectives and other specialists to a more office-based role, which will be based around a nine-to-five roster.

While gardaí on core response duties would be working the four days on, four days off regime on the proposed roster, their colleagues in specialist units such as detectives would not.

Core policing response comprises of uniform gardaí who answer emergency calls, but also Road Policing Units.

Non core are gardaí such as detectives attached to Crime investigation units and also other specialist units that are not designated as core policing roles.
The move would bring the garda staffing model more in line with that used in UK police forces.

The GRA and AGSI have cited work life balance and cost of living as a major bugbear for them. There has also been discussion, sources said, in regard to the reduction in unsocial hours allowances which are given to gardaí who work night duty – the proposed roster would see these allowances reduced significantly.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) recently rejected roster proposals by 63% in a ballot of members. The proposals asked members to work 14 days out of 16, which the majority of members were very concerned about, General Secretary Antoinette Cunningham said.

Middle garda management in a number of counties rejected a roster which would see specialist gardaí, such as detectives, move to an office-based role working nine to five daily.

The GRA conference unanimously passed a motion today that a formal approach would be made to the Minister for Justice outlining “the grave concerns of the GRA with the current Garda Commissioner’s attitude towards rostering arrangements in An Garda Síochána”.

The special delegate conference, which was held in Portlaoise, also agreed that a four-part proposal would form GRA policy, going forward:

  • A roster configuration of 4 x 4, 12-hour shifts for core units and other units as set out in the 2022 work time agreement (WTA) proposal
  • A roster configuration of 6 x 4, 10-hour shifts for non-core units as set out in the 2022 WTA proposal
  • That no members’ earnings, terms and conditions and rest patterns would be negatively affected
  • That the current protections afforded to members under the 2012 WTA remain.

The Special Delegate Conference also agreed to reject the imposition of “eight hour tours, other than those currently worked by members predisposed to them”.

Also at today’s SDC, Garda Tara McManus of the Louth Division, was officially appointed to the role of Assistant to the General Secretary.

The GRA conference is made up of elected delegates from every Garda division in the country.  It is the highest decision-making authority within the GRA and motions carried dictate official association policy.

- Additional reporting Niall O’Connor

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