Fórsa and other unions in the water sector have sought reassurances before agreeing to a ministerial request to engage with management on proposals to establish a single water authority. Minister Eoghan Murphy wrote to the group of water unions on the matter last month, after meeting them in December.
Responding on behalf of all the unions, ICTU official Liam Berney sought assurances that the proposed process did not have a pre-determined outcome, and that union engagement would not rule out the extension of local authority service level agreements beyond their current expiry date of 2025.
Unions also want a commitment that no local authority employee will be forced to transfer to Irish Water without their consent. And Berney said workers wanted a firm commitment to a constitutional referendum on keeping water services in public ownership.
The process proposed by Minister Murphy would involve the unions, along with Irish Water, the local government department, and local authority employers.
Last year, Irish Water confirmed its intention to create a single water agency and employer by 2021, four years before the expiry of current service level agreements with local authorities. Fórsa and other unions are opposed to this new structure, saying it threatens employment and increases the risk of future privatisation.
Fórsa and the other unions also met local authority management on 25th January.