IMPACT has amplified its longstanding demand that civil servants get the same right to appeal to the State’s industrial relations machinery as other workers. The demand came after the Cabinet accepted an interdepartmental report recommendation that Garda associations should have access to the Labour Court and Workplace Relations Commission.
The union says the move will leave Ireland’s 30,000 civil servants virtually alone in being denied access to mainstream industrial relations conciliation and arbitration expertise.
The Cabinet moved immediately to accept the recommendation of the report, from the departments of justice and enterprise, which was put in train on foot of last year’s dispute over Garda pay and representation. Published last month, it recommended against establishing Garda associations as trade unions, but said they should have access to the WRC and the Labour Court once issues have been through a new dispute resolution process.
IMPACT national secretary Andy Pike said civil servants’ patience was wearing thin. “This is about fair access to dispute resolution services for all workers in our economy. We welcome the fact that Gardaí will have access to the court and WRC, but this latest twist means their civilian counterparts in the police service will still be denied that right, along with 30,000 others,” he said.
IMPACT has campaigned on the issue for many years. Its efforts led to a provision in the 2015 Workplace Relations Act, which allows the minister to give civil servants access to the Court and WRC. But the provision has not been implemented despite repeated pressure from IMPACT and other civil service unions, who also support the provision of full access to the WRC.