Supporting Local News

Industrial action sees City Hall staff refusing to deal with councillors


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Industrial action sees City Hall staff refusing to deal with councillors Industrial action sees City Hall staff refusing to deal with councillors

Staff at City Hall in Galway commenced industrial action last week over pay – with the ban on engagement with elected representatives spooking councillors ahead of next June’s local elections.

Members of trade union Fórsa, representing about 30% of the workforce of Galway City Council, are involved in a dispute to achieve job evaluation in the local government sector.

It is a national dispute, and at local level includes members across several grades and departments, including some senior staff members in Galway City Council.

Councillors are anxious that the dispute is resolved quickly, as it impacts on their ability to deliver on constituents’ representations, less than a year out from the next local election.

Acting Chief Executive Patrician Philbin, told councillors that the initial industrial action included an “indefinite ban on engagement on all political representations” from councillors including verbal, email and written.

“You will be notified in due course if there is any escalation of this industrial action,” Ms Philbin said.

Non-Fórsa members, “are required to work as normal”, she added.

Councillor John Connolly (FF) said the industrial action would impact the public.

“I don’t discount the necessity for your members to do so nor do I discount the merit of same however I take exception to its format,” Cllr Connolly said in a letter to Fórsa Galway.

The ban on political engagement would hit disadvantaged groups who need councillors to make representations on their behalf, including people in need of social housing, people who require adaptation grants for housing for people with disabilities, and community groups who have made applications for funding for various social initiatives.

Cllr Connolly said the industrial action pursued, was not “in keeping with the aims of the trade union movement” and he asked union leaders to reconsider their method of protest.

A Notice of Motion, submitted by Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab) at last Monday’s Council meeting, was not voted on.

It said the Council “stands in solidarity” with Fórsa members across all local authorities seeking resolution to issues around pay and job evaluation, to make sure members are properly graded and enumerated.

The motion also called for Housing Minister, Darragh O’Brien, LGMA (Local Government Management Agency) and management of Galway City Council, “to return to negotiations”.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up