EIGHT hours of talks have led to the suspension of the Cork City Fire Brigades’ industrial action with the threat of striking removed for the time being.
The breakthrough was reached at a conciliation conference where both sides of the dispute, Cork City Fire Brigade and Cork City Council, met with the Workplace Relations Commission to discuss their differences.
The action was suspended after the union agreed to speak to their members over the weekend with a proposed resolution brokered between management and union representatives.
The dispute related to the non-payment of outstanding backpay as agreed under the Public Services Agreement. City Hall management has welcomed the suspension of the unofficial industrial action and has committed to working constructively with the WRC to bring final resolution to the dispute.
The Lord Mayor of Cork, Councillor Mick Finn welcomed today’s developments: “I am glad to see this progress. The fire service is an essential and valued service to our communities and I welcome the intervention of the WRC.”
Firefighter union representative Billy Crowley said: “The talks had been slow starting, but that was to be expected. We are happy enough with how it went, hopefully now this will be enough to put the dispute to rest. They have committed to paying us as early as possible.”
Speaking about the eight hours of talks, Mr Crowley said it wasn’t the easiest way to spend eight hours. “I would have preferred to be fighting a fire, but it wasn’t too bad.”