IMPACT has suspended industrial action, which was due to start in Roscommon County Council tomorrow (Tuesday), after the Labour Court agreed to issue a clarification of its recommendation in the row over flexi-leave in the council. The decision was taken by the IMPACT Roscommon branch committee, and endorsed by the union’s Local Government Divisional Executive, after mass meeting of staff endorsed the move earlier today. Management has been informed of the unions’ decision.
The development came after the ‘oversight body,’ which monitors the implementation of public service agreements, intervened last week and suggested that a Labour Court clarification be sought.
A work-to-rule by IMPACT members, scheduled to start tomorrow, would have left phones and emails unanswered and counters unstaffed, while halting staff cooperation with additional duties or work outside normal hours. The action was provoked by management’s decision to scrap access to its flexi-time scheme in defiance of an earlier Labour Court recommendation.
Earlier this year the Labour Court said there should be no change in the current facility for staff to take 13 days flexi-leave a year. Management initially wanted to reduce this to just two days. Then, in an attempt to side-step the Labour Court recommendation, the management team said there could never be a business case to support staff access to the scheme.
IMPACT official Padraig Mulligan said: “We welcome the Labour Court intervention. No other local authority in Ireland has attacked working parents – and particularly working mothers – in this this way. It is unprecedented within the public service, and it hits lower-paid women hardest as many of them depend on the flexi-scheme to balance work and caring responsibilities.”
IMPACT says flexi-time is of most benefit to low paid women workers with childcare commitments, because it allows them work up time, which that can later be taken as leave or flexible working.