Garda sergeants and inspectors to stage protest march over roster changes

An Garda Síochána sergeants and inspectors are planning a protest march today (March 13) over roster concerns.

Mar 13, 2023
By Paul Jacques
Picture: lensmen / Shutterstock.com

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) said it is the first in a series of “days of action” amid health, safety and welfare concerns of its membership.

One hundred members of the AGI representing each of their 31 branches and National Executive will march to Garda Headquarters and hand a letter to the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris outlining their concerns over working patterns.

Gardai were moved to a new roster to police the Covid-19 pandemic but the AGSI said undertakings by the Garda Commissioner to return to normal working patterns “have not been honoured”.

However, Mr Harris said the protest is unnecessary and has referred the dispute to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

The AGSI said it has been “mandated by its membership” to take a series of ‘days of action’ over the “failure of the Garda Commissioner to appropriately address health, safety and welfare concerns of its membership in relation to the Garda roster”.

“This is phase one of a two-part agreed strategy where the initial focus for the next four weeks’ will be on health, safety and welfare of the members of AGSI, and if matters are not addressed sufficiently this will elevate at the annual Delegate Conference next month to phase two, which will be a discussion on a mandate for all forms of industrial action,” it added.

Speaking at last week’s AGSI Special Delegate Conference, general secretary Antoinette Cunningham said: “The membership is angry, upset and frustrated that just over five weeks from now they do not know what their work pattern is, a situation which would be unacceptable in any other workplace.

“In March 2020 members moved overnight to a new roster to police the Covid-19 pandemic and undertakings by the Garda Commissioner that we would return to our normal working patterns have not been honoured.

“A ballot of the membership on new roster proposals was rejected by AGSI members in October 2022 and a dispute on the matter commenced then. AGSI have sought that roster negotiations are re-opened but the Garda Commissioner has refused to allow this.

“The membership is demanding action and the National Executive will deliver the very clear mandate that was issued to them.”

The AGSI said a second ‘day of action’ will proceed if concerns raised are not addressed, adding: “Delegates will return to their annual conference from April 3 to 5 in Galway to continue the discussion and to escalate and consider all forms of industrial action if deemed appropriate to do so.”

The International Council of Police Representative Associations has issued a statement of support for the AGSI.

General secretary Calum Steele said: “The International police union community stands full square with our colleagues in AGSI as they embark on this unprecedented action in protest over their duty rosters.”

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