Cleaning staff at the Garda College in Templemore will commence industrial action, in the form of a work to rule, from today (Monday 3rd October). The college cleaning staff are the lowest paid civil servants in Ireland, and start work on the lowest possible legal wage. The staff are represented by IMPACT trade union.
The dispute is over a number of issues including management’s failure to hire enough staff to deal with increased student numbers as Templemore College becomes fully operational. IMPACT has also raised health and safety concerns with management, and is seeking a formal Health and Safety Authority inspection of the facility.
Planned industrial action in September was suspended in order to facilitate discussions at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). Notice of the action was served last week in a letter to An Garda Síocháná by IMPACT national secretary Andy Pike.
In his letter Mr Pike said that the lack of engagement on the part of management was highlighted by the fact that no senior members of the college management team attended the WRC talks which took place on 23rd September. He said management’s only contribution to that process was to propose a staffing review, despite the fact that an independent review, commissioned by college management under its own terms of reference, had already taken place.
IMPACT has said it may also take an equal pay case against the State because male staff doing similar work in other parts of the public service are paid significantly more than the female college cleaners in dispute.
Mr Pike said: “Pay for college cleaning staff is the lowest in the civil service, with a starting salary at the national minimum wage, and well short of the recommended €11.50 living wage. Staff are also expected to carry out a wide range of extended housekeeping duties without receiving any additional reward.
“The work to rule will mean that cleaning staff will revert solely to cleaning duties instead of working as housekeepers or hotel services staff.”