Talks on water staffing expected

Local talks over annual service plans for water provision will take place between unions and management from September. Each local authority must produce an annual service plan under its 12-year service level agreement with Irish Water, which guarantees that staff in local authorities will continue to provide water services.

As part of a wider set of commitments over the establishment of Irish Water, IMPACT won agreement that unions would be involved in the service plan process which, among other things, will determine staffing levels.

It has been agreed that posts vacant in 2014 will be filled, but it has emerged that departmental sanction has only been given for 18 months or two years in some cases. IMPACT says this goes against the agreement and will have to be addressed by the Irish Water Consultative Group (IWCG), a national forum involving unions and management.

IMPACT national secretary Eamonn Donnelly said the IWCG has agreed that 2014 staffing levels would be the starting point for discussions on annual service plans. “We do not intend to allow local management or the department to move off that position,” he said.