Dispute centres on LGMA refusal to engage with Unite members

Over forty Unite members working as retained firefighters in Counties Waterford and Tipperary will take industrial action tomorrow (Friday 7 July).  The dispute follows the ongoing failure of the Local Government Management Association – which represents local authorities – to engage with Unite regarding a number of issues.

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

Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Eoin Drummey said:

“Unite members working as retained firefighters are committed to serving their communities and are eager to engage with the local authorities – represented by the LGMA – to resolve the issues in dispute.  Those issues range from pay to predictability of working time and inflexible home location requirements.  However, the LGMA refuses to engage with Unite.

“This shows a worrying lack of respect to these essential workers.  Essentially, the LGMA has decided who it will talk to based on which union they happen to be members of.  Our members in Waterford and Tipperary have been left with no choice but to take industrial action, and accordingly there will be a one-day stoppage tomorrow (Friday 7 July).

“Unite members working as retained firefighters pick up the phone every day of the week to respond to emergencies.  Now our members are asking the LGMA to resolve this dispute by picking up the phone and engaging with Unite regarding our members’ issues”, Mr Drummey concluded.