SIPTU members in the Retained Fire Services voted overwhelmingly for industrial action, including strike action, in a dispute related to attempts to decrease fire appliance crewing levels. Ballots were counted on Friday 20th March in Liberty Hall, Dublin.
SIPTU National Retained Fire-fighter Organiser, Con Casey, said: “Our members have voted resoundingly to oppose any attempt to unilaterally implement cuts to crewing levels or other changes to national agreements, which they believe will endanger fire-fighters and the public. The vote in favour of industrial action was 97%, while the vote for strike action was over 95%, with a turnout of over 80%. It is clear that our members will not accept this attempt by the Department of Environment to push through reductions in fire-fighter crewing levels which could jeopardise the health and safety of the public who rely on this critical emergency service.”
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, said: “If there is any attempt to impose these changes which are contained in the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government’s ‘Keeping Communities Safe’ document, our members will then commence preparation for industrial or strike action. The Department has repeatedly failed to provide any assurance that the proposed reductions in crewing levels will not threaten the safety of the public or fire-fighters, despite numerous requests by SIPTU. We are calling upon the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly, to intervene in order to ensure that his Department does not proceed to implement these dangerous measures. In the meantime, we remain available and willing to meet with the minister to discuss our concerns.”
SIPTU represents over 1700 of the 2000 retained fire-fighters employed by local authorities across the country.