Sinn Féin TD John Brady has accused the government of once again letting down the Retained Fire Service and its members.
The Wicklow TD was speaking following the announcement that SIPTU, who have been representing the Retained Fire Fighters in their dispute with the government at the Labour Court, is to recommend that its members reject proposals brought forward by the Labour Court.
Teachta Brady said:
“I am extremely disappointed that the government continues to lack the political will to grasp the opportunity to address the core issues at the heart of the recruitment and retention crisis in the Retained Fire Service.
“Through my ongoing engagement with members of the National Retained Firefighters Association (NRFA), I am very aware that the core issues in this crisis centre around work-life balance, and that they are resolute on what needs to be done to address the recruitment and retention crisis.
“SIPTU has begun the process of balloting members in relation to industrial action. SIPTU have recommended that members of the Retained Fire Service reject the proposals, and likewise individual fire fighters have expressed dismay at the government’s failure to address key issues.
“Retained Fire Fighters deserve more than ‘respect’ from this government – they need to be paid properly.
“Retained Fire Fighters should not be dependent on social welfare to make up their wages or put food on the table.
“Minister Darragh O’Brien, and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe, have failed to step up to the plate and end this dispute with a credible offer genuinely designed to address the core pay issues in the Retained Fire Service.
“If the government continues to fail to act, it will be responsible for the likely recommencement of industrial action by fire fighters, who had previously voted in overwhelming numbers in favour of industrial and strike action but put that on hold pending the conclusion of the Labour Court hearing.
“Minister O’Brien must secure agreement with DPER to ensure that retained fire fighters receive the fair deal from this government that is long overdue.”