The announcement last week to end industrial action by Council staff, following a successful negotiation has been welcomed. The strike action that commenced on Monday 11th Sept reached a settlement following intensive engagement at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
Speaking in relation to the news, Sinn Féin Councillor Derren Ó Brádaigh said “The announcement today is a win for ordinary workers at a time when so many hard-working people are just not being heard amid an ongoing cost of living crisis. As a part of this dispute, council staff with their union representative body Fórsa agreed that they would not engage with elected representatives on their constituency work, until calls for job evaluation were addressed. And whilst this made work for us a little frustrating, I fully supported the right of all local authority staff to pursue this particular course of action.
The Lucan and Palmerstown-Fonthill councillor stated “Together alongside my Sinn Féin colleagues in South Dublin County Council, we all wrote letters to the Minister, the Chief Executive Officer of SDCC and wrote to the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA). A number of statements were released in support of local authority staff, and we had an emergency motion agreed at the September full council meeting. Indeed, I was proud that so many of my Sinn Féin colleagues across the board helped to turn the heat up, in order to see a successful outcome.
Ó Brádaigh added “The staff involved in the dispute only ever wanted fairness and equity. They had their efforts in this regard resisted by their employers and were being dismissed, effectively being told that they were in breach of national agreements. The result was a very justifiable strike action, that has now provided an agreed path for the establishment of job evaluation in the sector. I want to commend all members of the Fórsa union and congratulate the staff involved too.
Cllr Ó Brádaigh concluded by saying “During the financial crash local authorities were hit hardest in the public sector, with up to 10,000 job losses. In the intervening years staff have been assigned additional responsibilities above their pay grade, training, or appropriate pay. Simply speaking, this is not right, and this is not fair! Across Ireland in almost every sector, we are experiencing issues with staff retention and poor morale, with the result having led to a brain drain and a generational wealth of skills and experience being lost, with people taking flight to seek career changes to eke out deserved recognition and appropriate pay.”