Fórsa announced this afternoon (Friday) that it was cancelling all face-to-face meetings for the time being. The union is going to redeploy staff to prioritise engagement with management on proposals arising from the Covid-19 public health crisis and providing rapid and efficient responses to members’ queries and concerns.
Speaking after an emergency meeting of the union’s elected officers, Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan said he expected that many civil and public servants would be “asked to do different things, in different ways, and at different times during this emergency.
“This is a rapidly-changing situation and our priority is to ensure that the union’s officials and staff are available to liaise with management and deal with members’ queries and concerns, quickly and effectively,” he said.
Following today’s meeting, the union issued a public statement that said:
“Fórsa and its members across the civil, public, private, voluntary and semi-state sectors are committed to cooperating fully with emergency measures necessary to contain the Covid-19 coronavirus, protect the health and safety of citizens and workers, and maintain essential services during this unprecedented public health emergency.
“The union will continue to advise its members to co-operate with all necessary measures, including some that might not be acceptable in normal times, so long as employers consult with the appropriate unions, respect existing collective agreements, and reach agreement with the union if they feel it necessary to waive aspects of collective agreements in the short-term.”
Kevin also urged the Government and public authorities to engage directly with Fórsa and other unions to smooth the implementation of operational changes required to deal with the virus.
“Fórsa stands ready to do whatever is necessary to help contain the virus, protect the health and safety of citizens, and maintain essential services during this unprecedented emergency.
“Sustained consultation with Fórsa and other unions will bring their experience and expertise to the table in terms of what can work best, at an operational level, in the health sector and elsewhere. I’m calling on the Government to involve us with immediate effect,” he said.
The best way for members to raise questions is currently through the contact box on the Fórsa website.