Garda body seeks trade union rights July 20, 2012Posted by Tomboktu in Human Rights, Labour relations, Trade Unions.
[Cedar Lounge Revolution isn’t a news site, but it looks like we may be the first to report on a development that has been made public in recent days. I haven’t seen this reported in any news media, and I coudn’t find any reference to it in searches, including on the GRA, AGSI and EuroCOP websites.]
A legal compalint has been lodged against Ireland for its refusal to allow members of An Garda Síochána join a trade union.
The complaint has been brought under a human rights charter at the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe.
The European Confederation of Police (EuroCOP) lodged the legal challenge in June with the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR), a parallel structure to the European Court of Human Rights. The legal challenge was made public by the ECSR on Wednesday.
The Garda Síochána Act 2005 states that “a member of the Garda Síochána shall not be or become a member of any trade union”. It allows gardaí to form staff associations without full trade union status. The two main bodies established for that purpose are the Garda Representative Association (GRA) and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI)
The document initiating the legal challenge states that the staff associations do not have access to the Labour Court or the Labour Relations Commission. “The police associations are not allowed to join an umbrella organisation such as ICTU. This means that the police organisations are kept out of the overall negotiations that ICTU conduct on behalf of their members, such as those on salaries”, EuroCOP says.
The Irish law is alleged to breach three articles of the Revised European Social Charter: the right to organise, the right to bargain collectively, and the right to information and consultation.
The case is being taken by EuroCOP on behalf of the AGSI because complaints against a state must be taken by a European organisation registered with the Council of Europe.