GARDA STRATEGY – A SUBMISSION FROM AGSI
“Defining our Role in Change. Underpinning Service Delivery.”
Guaranteeing Service Delivery – Recommendations
1. Protect Core Pay, Curb Allowance Cuts – up to 20% of core pay is made up of allowances. A strategy to cut allowances should be matched by a commitment to protect core pay. These allowances form part of the basic pay of our members and are something that Gardaí cannot do without, given the ever-increasing costs of living. It should be remembered that Mr Kieran Mulvey , Chief Executive of the Labour Relations Commission, during the Croke Park Negotiations, viewed the Garda allowances as part of core pay.
2. Return on Investment, Updating The Garda Fleet – it is clear that service delivery is greatly affected by an ageing and ailing Garda fleet. Investing in new fleet will reduce downtime and reduce increasing maintenance costs. Moreover, the motor industry is currently offering significant value for money and AGSI believes this opportunity should be exploited.
3. Upskilling a Reducing but Talented Force – in order to maintain standards in An Garda Síochána at a time when Government policy is to reduce force numbers, upskilling has never been more important.
4. Protecing the Welfare of our Members in the Working Time Agreement – the welfare of our members, work-life balance, increased reporting of stress and work-related illness culminates in a worrying development within the AGSI membership.
5. Managing Stress, A Growing Pain within the Force – stress and illness due to overworked and burned-out members is on the rise. However underwriters have now decided not to ‘pay-out’ on ‘emotional and mental health’ related illnesses which is a new cause of great concern for our members. Our recent Occupational Stress/Welfare survey (April 2012) showed % of members survey (39% or 821 members) indicated feeling extremely stressed.
6. Closing Rank on Garda Stations – 2012 marked the closure of 39 Garda Stations and reduced opening times in 10 Garda Stations in Dublin. This is a worrying development within our membership and also among members of the general public. We cannot see the cost-benefit analysis of hosting ‘Garda clinics’. You can’t make a date with policing.
7. Reform of Civilianisation lank in the GovernmentsCiCiC – managing 2,141 civilians and 900 Garda Reserves at a time when Garda Sergeants and Inspectors are under increasing administrative and management pressures, is untenable. Our members report a blurring or reporting lines and a lack of clarity in relation to HR management of civilians. This adds to our workload and is contrary to the initial plan to reduce Garda admin time.
Policing has changed dramatically over the past 40 years. However, the greatest change is staring us in the face. We are facing a police force where the welfare our members comes second only to budgetary concerns.
With eight Scots Medals handed out this week (12th November, 2012) to honour colleagues who risked their lives in the face of adversity, it reminds the nation and Government of the unique role played by An Garda Síochána.
To contemplate reducing Garda pay through allowance elimination while utility and other living costs continue to rise is difficult to countenance. The historic nature of allowances means that they make up about 20% to 25% of core pay. We are seeing more and more members avail of our Members Benevolent Fund and Employee Assistance Programme which have already experienced an increase in demand in the past 36 months, due to more prevalent hardship cases.
We appeal to Garda Management to represent us, your colleagues, at Government level.