March 24, 2021
European Committee finds state still violating workers’ rights of Gardaí and Defence Forces – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights Louise O’Reilly TD has said that a report by the European Committee of Social Rights, which found the government’s refusal to allow An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces the right to collectively negotiate pay deals and the denial of a right to strike, is in breach of the European Social Charter.

Speaking this afternoon, Teachta O’Reilly said:

“This is not the first time the European Committee of Social Rights has found an Irish government of being in breach of the workers’ rights of members of An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces.

“In 2018,  the committee upheld a complaint made by the Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association (PDFORRA) against the Irish government.

“They found that, under Articles 5 and 6 of the European Social Charter in 2014, rights of Irish Defence Forces to engage in collective bargaining and to have trade union recognition were being breached by the government.

“In this latest report, the Social Rights Committee has made many of the same findings against the Irish government as it has in previous years.

“Indeed, despite promises from successive governments to addressed these issues, we are back to square one with the committee finding that the refusal to allow An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces the right to fully participate in negotiations regarding their pay and service, and the denial of a right to strike, is in breach of the European Social Charter.

“The committee has called on the government to implement the measures needed to remedy the situation, and it has made specific reference for this to be done in relation to the measures taken to address the abolition of the right to strike.

“This report should be a wake-up call, in particular to Fianna Fáil and the Green Party. These parties need to ask themselves if they will continue to implement Fine Gael policies which deny An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces the right to be represented and collectively negotiate pay deals, or if they will stand up for the workers’ rights of Gardaí and the Defence Force members.”