Fórsa’s Roscommon Local Government branch is calling on members from across the union to support next Saturday’s protest over management’s refusal to implement a flexi-leave scheme in the council. The rally takes place in Roscommon town at 2pm on Saturday 23rd June.
A campaign of one-day strikes every Thursday and Tuesday will commence in the council tomorrow (21st June) in a dispute that’s been running for over two years.
Council management has refused to halt its effective ban on flexi-leave in defiance of two biding Labour Court recommendations, two Labour Court clarifications of its position, and one Labour Court clarification of its clarifications. The union decided to take industrial action after management refused to concede any progress in Workplace Relations Commission-brokered talks, which have been going on for weeks.
Branch chair Florie Hickey invited Fórsa members from across the country to join the protest. “We were buoyed by the outstanding support the branch received at last month’s Fórsa conference in Killarney, and now we’re looking for your support for this Rally on Saturday 23rd June,” she said.
Branch secretary Fiona Fallon said flexi-systems in other public service employments could be put at risk if Roscommon management got away with flouting agreements. “Staff in Roscommon County Council have been denied access to flexi leave since May 2017. This is Roscommon today. It could be you tomorrow,” she said.
Fórsa official Padraig Mulligan said management had not budged an inch in seven Workplace Relations Commission hearings on the matter. “We really have explored every avenue to avoid industrial action. Now we need the support of Fórsa branches as we embark on a campaign of one-day strikes,” he said.
The Labour Court last year confirmed that Roscommon council staff should have the same rights as their colleagues throughout the local government sector. Its recommendation, which was binding on both sides, pointed to the Haddington Road agreement’s provisions on flexi-leave, which say: “no change is proposed to the existing terms with regard to the amount or the use of hours to be carried over.” That protection carried into the current Public Service Stability Agreement (PSSA).
Padriag said management’s intransigence, which is unprecedented in Irish local government and across the public service, was an attack on working parents, particularly working mums. “No other local authority in Ireland has attacked working parents – and particularly working mothers – in this way. It is unprecedented within the public service, and it hits lower-paid women hardest as many of them depend on the flexi scheme to balance work and caring responsibilities,” he said.
Assemble at the Sacred Heart Church car park, Roscommon Town, 2pm, Saturday 23rd June.
For updates and rally details, including branch transport arrangements, register at the Facebook event page.
See also: GETTING TO ROSCOMMON ON JUNE 23RD