Next week’s Garda strike could be avoided depending on the outcome of secret talks this weekend.
The AGSI and the GRA have both agreed to meet with the Department of Justice at an undisclosed location. But with 12,500 officers planning to walk off the job on Friday the clock is ticking.
There’s less than a week to go until rank and file officers, as well as Sergeants and Inspectors withdraw their services in a planned day of action.
Gardaí say it’s a last resort in their fight to get fair pay and conditions and they’ve warned their protest, could escalate to four days of full strike action next month.
The Government is keen to avoid a walkout, but is wary of setting a precedent prompting other public sector workers to seek increases beyond the Lansdowne Road agreement. Meanwhile there’s the question of safety to address. Who will keep order if the majority of the country’s crime fighters go on strike? Today’s Irish Independent claims that Gardaí are working on a back-up plan – but will only come out if lives are at risk.
History has already been made with the first ever work-to-rule by middle-ranking members of the force last week and the next six days may prove to be pivotal not just for the Gardaí, but for the Government and the general public.