Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has stated his support for the 82% of SIPTU retained fire fighters who voted to reject the recommendations from the Labour Court.
The recommendations failed to come close to the answers needed to address the recruitment and retention crisis in the retained fire service.
This will result in Retained Fire Service members recommencing the strike action which they suspended in order to allow discussions between SIPTU and the Labour Court to take place, from July 26th.
Teachta Brady said:
“The proposals brought forward fail to address the core issues at the heart of the recruitment and retention crisis in the retained fire service.
“The reality is that retained fire fighters are underpaid, they are working and are on call for extra-ordinary long hours and are being paid so poorly that many are forced to supplement their salary through social welfare payments.
“In addition, they face the challenge of being understaffed to the point that crewing levels represent a danger to both fire fighters and the public.
“How the government, and Minister Darragh O’Brien in particular remain prepared to stand over this unworkable, and unacceptable situation is inexplicable.
“I find it disingenuous that the proposals brought forward by the Labour Court were couched in percentage terms, which represent a misleading attempt by the government to obscure the ridiculously low renumeration starting point from the retained fire fighters are operating.
“With accelerating staffing losses due to mandatory retirement, and the mass exodus of experienced fire fighters who are no longer able to cope with the financial and familial challenges and restraints that the job places on their lives, the moment is fast approaching where the retained fire service could well cease to exist as a workable entity.
“The onus is now on Minister O’Brien and his government colleagues to intervene immediately, and I repeat my calls for Minister Darragh O’Brien to act to end the dispute by authorising
the introduction of a credible offer, that is genuinely designed to address the core pay issues in the Retained Fire Service.
“Responsibility for the recommencement of the strike scheduled for July 26th rest entirely with the Minister. The retained fire fighters must be granted a fair deal from the government.”