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Gardai announce dates for ‘blue flu’ strikes

Gardai announce dates for ‘blue flu’ strikes

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) are considering upcoming dates to carry out 'blue flu' industrial action.

Rank and file gardai have decided to take action in a row over their pay and conditions.

The dates for their withdrawal of service, or 'blue flu', are four consecutive Fridays: November 4, November 11, November 18 and November 25.

Union members will simultaneously call in sick on those days.

About 200 GRA members from 31 divisions are attending a conference in Tullamore this afternoon. They have rejected a proposed deal on pay and conditions.

This week, 10,500 members of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) overwhelmingly said they are willing to take industrial action in a secret ballot.

They were asked to indicate if they were willing to take part in industrial action and 95pc said yes. Two-thirds of the membership voted.

Results, seen by Independent.ie, reveal that 9,875 members were balloted, 6,505 votes were counted with just 136 spoiled. A total of 6,069 (95.3%) voted in favour with just 300 (4.7%) voting against.

"We surveyed our members to find out if there is an appetite for industrial action," said the president of the GRA, Ciaran O'Neill. "The reason for this is because our members have done everything that was asked of them, and the reluctance of the Government to reward our patience has driven us towards this move."

The vote began before an agreement was reached with the Department of Justice that could bring them behind the Lansdowne Road agreement.

There is a general sense of unease and dissatisfaction among the gardaí and it's not over one issue in particular. High on the list is the fact that they believe they have been hard done by compared with other public servants.

They complain that pay for new recruits is among the worst, they have been left out of union talks, do not have access to State mediation bodies or the right to strike.

They also complain that they are the only group of public servants doing a 40-hour week and feel they should have different sick leave rules, given the hazards of their jobs.

The last 'blue-flu' style industrial action took place in 1998 when 5,000 members of the force called in sick to work on one single day.