By Cillian Sherlock, PA
Updated at 16:36
Garda middle management have said they will withdraw their labour if a resolution is not found to a current dispute over rosters but will not do so during President Joe Biden’s visit.
Gardaí will co-operate "under protest" during Mr Biden's visit, General Secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) Antoinette Cunningham said.
As the Irish Examiner reports, cooperation during the US president’s visit was without future guarantees on cooperation on further VIP visits, she said.
She said that individual members have indicated their withdrawal of labour on a particular day if a resolution is not found and the dispute continues to escalate.
Four protest Days of Action are also planned to continue to highlight health, safety and welfare concerns around the Garda rosters issue.
“The conference also agreed that the above actions would be set aside if meaningful internal negotiations take place on rosters,” Ms Cunnigham said.
The protest follows the moving of gardaí to a new roster during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A mandate was also issued that individual members have indicated their withdrawal of labour on a particular day if a resolution is not found and the dispute continues to escalate, in a process referred to as a “blue flu”.
“The conference also agreed that the above actions would be set aside if meaningful internal negotiations take place on rosters,” she said.
Last month, AGSI marched to Garda headquarters in the first day of action.
At the end of that march, Ms Cunningham said the protest is a “clear sign of frustration” that members feel over their working arrangements.
“There is a problem with rosters, there is a problem with morale, there is a problem with health and safety,” she told approximately 200 members of AGSI who participated in the march.
She said the current roster has been extended 15 times in three years.
“Previous commitments given by the Garda commissioner that members would return to their normal work pattern have not been honoured.
“The commissioner is now trying to impose a roster without agreement, and this is unacceptable,” she said.
She said more than half of AGSI members will be asked to work an additional 47 days under the new roster.
“That is not family friendly, it does not have an appropriate work-life balance,” she said.
Ms Cunningham said some members have to work 14 days out of every 16 whereas the previous roster was six days on and four days off.
“There’s high level of fatigue with that,” she added.
While the working shifts under the new arrangement have increased in number, they are shorter in duration.
AGSI said it has appealed against the new roster multiple times.
Garda commissioner Drew Harris said the roster issues have been examined and have now moved to an external process at the Workplace Relations Commission.