Fórsa has raised concerns over the potential introduction of a Bill that if enacted, would change some of the laws governing workers in the civil service.
The Bill, previously introduced in 2018, suggested that the right to terminate a civil service job should be devolved down from Secretary General to an unspecified lower grade. Following Fórsa representations at the time the Bill was shelved, only to now reappear on the 2023 spring Legislative Agenda.
Fórsa official Seán Carabini said the Bill is “totally unnecessary” as the civil service already has a robust disciplinary policy that has clear decision-making lines.
“To devolve this – one of the most important decisions you can make about a fellow worker – down to a lower grade will only assist in destroying whatever sense of workplace harmony exists,” he said.
“It also sends out a dreadful message to civil service workers that making decisions on people’s careers and livelihood is somehow beneath the grade of Secretary General. It should be one of the most important tasks that a Secretary General carries out,” he continued.
Seán explained that the Act also includes several changes to the governing structure of civil service disciplinary measures. He urged
“The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform are on record as concluding that the civil service disciplinary procedures are unnecessarily complex when compared with some of the procedures that exist in the private sector,” he said.
Seán said that he has seen his fair share of dreadful and insufficient private sector procedures and urged Government to hold the civil service policies aloft as an “example to the private sector as to how it should be done.”
“As an industrial relations practitioner who has seen his fair share of poor private sector procedures, I can tell you that the Civil Service policy is the Rolls Royce of policies. It gives very clear guidance on the different stages and decision-making capacity. It gives very clearly defined spaces for the voice of a worker and a manager to be heard. Why would you want to change that?” he questioned.
Seán explained that the Bill is now in the hands of our elected representatives. “Our job will be to let them know precisely how our members feel about the proposals when they come to cast a vote on it. It seems like a great way to get the backs up of all 44,000 civil servants,” he said.
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