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Overtime bill at Galway County Council tops €1.8m

The overtime bill at Galway County Council topped €1.8 million last year, the Connacht Tribune has learned.

Council staff on duty outside of their normal working hours received payments totalling €1,871,683 in 2022, according to records released to this newspaper under Freedom of Information (FOI).

Overtime was paid to a range of workers, from office staff to outdoor staff, across nine sections at County Hall.

The biggest overtime bills came in the monthly pay packets in July and the months before and after Christmas; November’s bill was €213,000, January’s bill was €196,000 and July’s overtime cost €217,000.

The documents released by the Council reveal that fire fighters’ overtime amounted to more than €457,000 in 2022.

That expenditure within Environmental Services represented a quarter (25%) of the County Council’s total expenditure on overtime, and reflects the 24-hour nature of the service provided.

This is a shared service with Galway City Council and it is understood some of it will be recouped from City Hall.

Waterworks caretakers working within the Water Services section claimed more than €278,000 in overtime over 12 months in 2022, according to the documents.

General operatives working within Water Services claimed in excess of €205,000 in overtime last year.

General operatives in the Roads and Transport Safety section claimed more than €102,000 in 2022.

According to a report published by the local authority last year, it had a workforce of 998 in 2022.

About four in every five of workers employed there are full-time.

A trade union source in the Council said many of the people getting paid overtime were low-paid workers, who relied on these additional payments to supplement their income.

Many were on the front-line of providing vital services to the public, including fire fighters and refuse collectors.

He said it would also include some outdoor workers involved in risky or difficult work, such as gritting roads at night and early morning during periods of cold weather, for example.

The union source said ‘nobody was getting rich’ on overtime at the County Council.

The following is the total monthly bill for overtime paid by Galway County Council last year, rounded down: January (€196,235), February (€122,248), March (€160,483), April (€163,561), May (€134,201), June (€147,638), July (€217,528), August (€143,860), September (€119,483), October (€145,149), November (€213,876) and December (€107,416).

A variety of staff in different grades and with different job descriptions working in various departments and sections within the County Council worked overtime last year.

Staff in the Housing and Building division claimed less than €8,000 combined in 2022 while staff in Development Management claimed a little over €1,600 in total or just €140 per month.

Workers such as refuse collectors, clerical officers, technicians, plant operators, library staff, foremen, caretakers, staff officers, gangers, supervisors, and craftworkers all worked varying amounts of overtime last year, according to the documents.

Galway County Council was contacted for comment.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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