Roscommon branch secures flexi victory
by Diarmaid Mac a Bhaird

Flexi-time and flexi-leave is to be available to workers at Roscommon county council following a Fórsa campaign that culminated in four one-day strikes.


Management is now implementing a two-month flexi-leave trial following an agreement reached at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).


The agreement makes flexi-time and flexi-leave available to all workers up to grade VII, senior executive engineers and all analogous grades in the authority.


Fórsa official Padriag Mulligan, who led the campaign, said it was a significant victory for all local authority workers. “I salute the leadership by the elected officers of the Roscommon branch and the commitment that members gave when asked to take industrial action. This has resulted in a breakthrough in Roscommon, which will avert the danger of other councils seeking to undermine family-friendly practices,” he said.


The pilot scheme allows staff to access flexi-leave for the first time in almost a year. The dispute went to strike action after management had effectively banned flexi-leave and refused to reinstate it.


The long-running dispute saw seven WRC hearings, two binding Labour Court recommendations, two clarifications of the Labour Courts position and a clarification of its clarifications. All this before the final settlement in the WRC.


Strike action in Roscommon began on 21st June, and three other strike days took place. The Fórsa campaign also included a rally, which drew local members and Fórsa branches from across the country.


A statement from the National Oversight Body on the 2nd July proved a key intervention in the final week of strike action. The union suspended a planned fifth day of action when “a clear route to the full availability of flexi-leave” emerged.


The WRC agreement, which was finalised on 6th July, compels both sides to work together to formulate a new document to follow on from the pilot after its expiry in early September.

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