Talks on the future of local authority-provided water services resumed in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) earlier this month, when Fórsa reiterated that it would not accept forced transfers of staff into Irish Water.
In June this year, employers’ representatives accepted a WRC proposal that recognised that unions will not recommend or support any outcome that will involve the coerced transfer of local authority staff to the water services utility.
Irish Water management made presentations on the pay structure that currently operates in the agency, and discussions took place on what it would be like for a local authority employee to work directly for the agency.
The WRC-brokered discussions on the Government’s proposal for a single national water authority are ongoing for well over a year. Irish Water has proposed that the national authority would supersede existing ‘service level agreements’ between Irish Water and local authorities.
In the WRC discussions, Fórsa has sought movement on four strands broad strands:
- The structure and governance of the proposed single water utility
- Employment and industrial relations issues that arise from the proposal
- The need for a constitutional referendum on public ownership of water services, to assuage fears that the creation of a single authority is a precursor to the eventual privatisation of water services, and
- The future sustainability and revitalisation of local authority services.
None of these issues has been resolved at this stage, and the management side continues to emphasise the need to have control of staff to ensure the safe delivery of water services.
Further meetings have been arranged.
It’s never been more important – or easier – to get the protections and benefits of union membership. Join Fórsa HERE or contact us HERE.