Fórsa is conducting an industrial action ballot among its members in Dublin airport's Border Management Unit in a dispute over management’s refusal to pay a Sunday premium. The union, which has been seeking the payment for more than three years, says it is a requirement under Irish and European working time legislation.
Management claims it doesn’t have to pay extra for Sunday working because it wasn’t part of the initial arrangements in Dublin airport. It says its responsibilities are met because there is a shift allowance in place.
But the union counters that this is irrelevant as there is no collective agreement in place to govern the arrangements.
Civilian staff represented by Fórsa took over the front-line immigration role from the Garda in 2013 as part of a major civilianisation programme. They operate shifts on a 24/7 basis.
Sunday payments are common in other parts of the civil service including the Garda, Revenue and customs areas, as well as in the wider public service.
The union initially pursued its claim through adjudication, but Fórsa’s head of civil service, Derek Mullen, said he was not prepared to accept further delays, particularly as the Department has been making individual settlements of cases taken through the Workplace Relations Commission.
The ballot closes on 8th November, after which decisions on next steps will be taken. In the meantime, the union says it remains available for meaningful negotiations.
Fórsa is planning meetings with members in Dublin and Portarlington.