Industrial action by Cork City Fire Brigade called off as Council contacts Workplace Relations Commission

Cork City Council said it has contacted the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and requested the services of the Labour Court to assist in the resolution of an ongoing dispute between the local authority and members of Cork City Fire Brigade.
Industrial action by Cork City Fire Brigade called off as Council contacts Workplace Relations Commission

Mr Crowley said the industrial action was not to do with pay or annual leave but solely due to the current closure of Ballincollig Fire Station which has meant a reduction of operational pumps in the city area from four to three. Picture Denis Minihane.

MEMBERS of Cork City Fire Brigade have called off planned industrial action due to commence this Friday morning after Cork City Council agreed to seek the services of the Labour Court in an ongoing dispute between the agencies.

Cork City Council said it has contacted the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and requested the services of the Labour Court to assist in the resolution of an ongoing dispute between the local authority and members of Cork City Fire Brigade.

It comes as last month city firefighters voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action over a reduction of operational pumps in the city area from four to three due to the current closure of Ballincollig Fire Station.

Earlier this week, Billy Crowley, firefighter and union representative with Cork City Fire Brigade said that industrial action focusing on a work-to-rule that would primarily affect administrative duties and processes was to commence on Friday.

Mr Crowley told The Echo their members have decided to call off their planned industrial action following a union meeting held in the aftermath of yesterday’s statement from Cork City Council.

“The industrial action is off. Cork City Council are now willing to the Labour Court, so we won’t be taking action essentially. We have worked hard throughout all this to resolve it and we are looking forward to making our case to the Labour Court,” he said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Cork City Council said the “provision and maintenance of a safe, effective and efficient Fire Services for the citizens of Cork City and its hinterland is a critical priority” and expressed “serious concerns” in relation to the proposed industrial action.

“The council has made extensive efforts both locally and through the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission over an extended period of time to resolve the dispute.

“The council has today contacted the Workplace Relations Commission and requested the services of the Labour Court to assist in the resolution of the matter,” the statement continued.

Commenting after the statement was issued, Mr Crowley said he welcomed the council’s decision.

“The reason for the ballot for industrial action and strike action and the reason we were starting on industrial action on Friday morning was because council wouldn’t go to the Labour Court.

“We’re delighted that they’ve seen sense and we’re looking forward to going to the Labour Court for a determination on this and hopefully it will put it to bed for once and for all.” 

Mr Crowley said the industrial action was not to do with pay or annual leave but solely due to the current closure of Ballincollig Fire Station which has meant a reduction of operational pumps in the city area from four to three.

The council’s statement was also welcomed by Sinn Féin councillor Eolan Ryng who, along with his party colleagues on city council, had tabled a motion at Monday night’s council meeting to discuss the current pressures the city’s Fire Service is under.

Speaking following the council’s statement on Wednesday, Mr Ryng said he welcomed the development.

“Hopefully it will lead to a satisfactory resolution for all concerned. Of paramount importance is the need for adequate fire service cover city wide and beyond.

“Hopefully this will lead to a situation where all fire stations are active again, including Ballincollig Fire Station."

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