Unions win assurances on water jobs

23rd October 2012

Existing local authority water staff will remain employees of their local authorities at least until 2017 under arrangements negotiated by IMPACT and other unions. They will be seconded to Irish Water, the new national authority being established by the Government to manage water services.

The same arrangement will apply to employees working in water services under service level agreements, who will continue in their existing roles until at least 2017.

The arrangements will not change before 2017 unless there is agreement at the Irish Water Consultative Group (IWCG), which is made up of unions and employers involved in the delivery of water services.

The IWCG oversees industrial relations issues arising from the Government’s decision to transfer the provision of water services from local authorities to Irish Water, which is to be part of Bord Gáis.

IMPACT national secretary Eamonn Donnelly said some water functions were likely to transfer to Irish Water on its establishment and in the period between 2014 and 2017. “These largely relate to management roles and roles associated with the delivery of the capital programme. It’s envisaged that the staff currently carrying out these functions will move to Irish Water on secondment in the period to 2017. Therefore they will remain as employees of the relevant local authority, although some staff could transfer to Irish Water by agreement during this period,” he said.

Eamonn added: “The lack of information surrounding the development of Irish Water had created anxieties for people, but we now know that staff will remain in their existing role for the next five years. We have a clearer picture what is happening over the next five years and IMPACT is working to secure the situation beyond that date.”

He said some authority water functions may not transfer at all. “Road drainage, flooding and septic tank inspections are likely to remain with local authorities. Over the next nine months, we will be working to clarify the precise role of Irish Water on these issues and the continuing role of local authorities,” he said.