Unite leader Susan Fitzgerald will pay solidarity visit to Carrick-on-Suir picket line

Union warns LGMA that they don’t get to choose the trade union which represents their workforce

Unite the union members working as retained firefighters in Counties Tipperary and Waterford are set to take a further two days strike action starting tomorrow [Thursday 3rd August] and continuing on Friday [4th August]. The two day strike represents an escalation of an industrial dispute which has arisen due to the continued refusal of the Local Government Management Association (LGMA), which represents the local authorities, to engage with Unite over workforce concerns.

Retained firefighters, who form the backbone of Ireland’s firefighting service, have seen retainers and call-out fees frozen for years while the location requirements make it difficult or impossible for workers to supplement their low earnings with other employment. Retained firefighters are also seeking structured and predictable ‘off-call’ times, rather than – as is currently the reality – operating on a 24/7 basis.

Ahead of the strike action Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham expressed her support for the striking firefighters:

Retained firefighters perform a vital role for the whole community and face considerable risks in the performance of their duties. These are frontline and essential workers but they have been taken for granted for too long.

“The disrespect shown to these frontline workers is demonstrated by the continued refusal of the Local Government Management Agency – that acts as representative of their employers – to engage with their trade union, Unite.

“The LGMA does not get to choose what union its workers wish to have as their representative voice. They need to come to the table to resolve this dispute.”

Unite Regional Secretary Susan Fitzgerald will join striking workers at picket lines outside Carrick-on-Suir Fire Station at 10am tomorrow [Thursday, 3rd August]. Commenting ahead of the strike, Ms Fitzgerald said:

“Our members working as Retained Firefighters seek improvements on pay, more predictability of working time and more flexibility on home location.

“The LGMA needs to sit down with Unite and the workers to resolve this dispute. In the absence of any positive response from the LGMA, it leaves our members with no other option but to escalate the industrial dispute with a further two day strike action.

“We call on all workers to respect our members’ picket lines and to support their collective right to trade union representation of their choice.”