Fórsa has said that legislation published earlier this month would strip civilians working in the police service of their civil service employee status and make them direct employees of An Garda Síochána instead.
An emergency motion passed at the union’s Civil Service divisional conference last week deplored the lack of consultation on the ‘heads of bill,’ which has now gone to Government.
The union says the move would see fundamental changes to Garda civilians’ employment status, and it has written to public expenditure minister Michael McGrath demanding full consultation before the legislation proceeds.
Fórsa has been told that that discussions on the formulation of the new Policing and Community Safety Bill have been underway between the Department of Justice and various parties for months. But the union has been denied an input into the process.
The proposed legislation will repeal the 2005 Garda Síochána Act and implement recommendations from the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.
Fórsa official Thomas Cowman said the Commission’s recommendations included measures with serious implications for thousands of civilian staff who had not been consulted on the matter.
“The proposed legislation would see non-sworn personnel stripped of their civil service status and recruited directly into An Garda Síochána. This would result in a clear material change in their terms and conditions, and would also affect their career prospects in the wider civil service.
“We have seen no rationale for this fundamental change. We oppose it as a matter of principle and we deplore the complete lack of engagement and consultation on this significant change,” he said.
The union has raised the issue with the justice department, An Garda Síochána, and in civil service industrial relations fora.
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