Wicklow TD Jennifer Whitmore has welcomed the news that retained firefighters have voted to accept proposals from the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to resolve their industrial dispute.
“this deal will not bring back the fire service members who have left in recent years”, Deputy Whitmore
“It is positive to learn today that firefighters, through their union SIPTU, have voted to accept WRC proposals and bring an end to their dispute, which has lasted for more than two months. I know the decision to take industrial action in the first place was not easy, and every retained firefighter did so with the community’s concerns in mind.
“While it is most welcome that an agreement has been reached to return to work, the Government cannot allow a repeat of this situation in the future. There are still issues with how our fire services are structured, and further work will be required to resolve them. Since all the stations in Wicklow are manned by retained firefighters, this issue has been very close to home in Wicklow.
“There is an urgent need for a complete overhaul of structures of the Retained Fire Service.“ – Deputy John Brady
Deputy Whitmore continued to say: “Speaking to members of the fire service in my Wicklow constituency today, I know how difficult this has all been for them. Today’s news will come as a relief to them and their families. There are still many outstanding concerns which must be addressed. The government must implement this deal in full for the sake of the fire service. It should also be noted that this deal will not bring back the fire service members who have left in recent years, and a recruitment drive will be needed to increase staffing numbers to the required levels.
“A lot of good faith will need to be established between the parties in the future. In the meantime, the Government must deliver on the commitments made in the WRC and rebuild trust with retained firefighters.” Deputy Whitmore concluded
John Brady speaking on the proposals, said:
There is an urgent need for a complete overhaul of structures of the Retained Fire Service. The proposals that the WRC have brought forward do not represent the totality of what is needed to resolve the problems in the Retained Fire Service.
Without a comprehensive overhaul which will drag the service into the 21st century, we will be left in a situation, where nothing has been achieved other than a patch up job, that will enable the service to limp on for a few more years, before it completely collapses. Without this necessary overhaul, we are going to end up back here sooner rather than later”