Fórsa, alongside representatives from other Congress affiliated unions, has commenced a series of intensive and robust discussions with Irish Water, the Department of Housing Local Government and Heritage and the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) regarding the future of Irish Water.
Fórsa is represented in the talks by head of division Peter Nolan, official Dessie Robinson, local government and local services chair Julie Flood, divisional committee member Michael Whyms, convener of the municipal division Thomas Murtagh, and municipal divisional committee member Thomas Kavanagh.
Peter said the engagement is taking place across each of the four strands identified by the union. These are the constitutional referendum to keep water services under public control, the governance and structures of Irish Water, including its pay determination system, the future of local government services, and the employment conditions of staff. This includes recognition that staff do not wish to be coerced into transferring to Irish Water.
At the division’s biennial conference last month Peter Nolan said that the union would insist on simultaneous progress, across all four strands: “Artificial deadlines are not helpful and further threaten the very people whose cooperation is vital to the continued provision of safe and high-quality water,” he said.
Peter said that unions had made it known to all parties that compulsory transfer to Irish Water was not acceptable: “The skilled and experienced people who provide this vital service have little or no interest in transferring out of the local authorities, with whom they entered into an employment contract.
“Fórsa has engaged with two governments, Irish Water and local authority chief executives on this matter. We will not allow the process to take local government workers for granted.
“Any attempt to force them to do so will jeopardise already-strained relationships,” he said.
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