The Garda Representative Association has vowed to fight on for fair shift patterns so detectives don’t end up with a raw deal.
Changes to shifts will effectively leave investigators out of pocket as their days at work increase with no subsequent increase in salary, according to Frank Thornton, President of the Garda Representative Association.
He said: “The most pressing challenges right now is negotiations over shift patterns. These negotiations have been very, very difficult. They’ve been ongoing for quite a while and what senior Garda management are suggesting is a pay cut for our detectives, [by] increasing their attendance at work by seven days per year. This amounts to a huge cost increase, given the cost of commuting now, and it is a big challenge.
“Right now we’re at a crossroads as to what we’re going to do. With our own conference coming up I imagine it’ll be a very hot debate.”
The Association is arguing that all members work the same shift pattern – four on, four off for twelve hours each – which will see equality across departments. This parity of working hours would also be of operational benefit, Frank said.
He said: “This supplements the front line because you have your detectives there, you’ve got armed support, the community police there. By taking away our support structure it’s going to be a pay cut for our members. They are camouflaging all this by saying it’s a cost neutral roster. But it’s not cost neutral if I’m up [financially] and my colleague is down.”
The Association has attended the EuroCop spring meeting in Gibraltar, after re-joining the organisation, a move that will be beneficial to members, Frank said.
He added: “It is great because we find that when we’re doing submissions for reviews on suspension policies or anything, we can tap into the wealth of knowledge that’s in Europe, as to what they do. Like the Scottish Police Federation were very helpful for our discipline regulations. They had it done a couple of years before that, so we got that documentation. It’s great for research, and of course we hope to positively contribute to whatever is going on.”