Fórsa delivers Valentine’s message on job evaluation

Local Government escalation of industrial action paused. Staff outside the LGMA holding posters of love hearts, with the words job evaluation and love local government.

Fórsa members across a number of local authorities sent a Valentine’s Day message to local authority management, calling for an independent job evaluation scheme.

Calling on the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA), the state agency with oversight for local authorities nationwide to “Love Local Government,” on Tuesday (14th), union members gathered at in workplaces for a photo opportunity to highlight the need for an immediate job evaluation scheme, in order to establish the extent to which people are taking on additional duties.

Fórsa treasurer Julie Flood, who works at Dublin City Council, said union members wanted to take the opportunity to send the message because so many of them have been carrying additional duties for years, but without any recognition for the extra work: “All we’re asking for is a fair and independent assessment of the work we’re doing.

“Fórsa represents workers in the HSE and the higher education sector, where access to job evaluation has already been secured. The process is commonplace across much of Europe. We need the same kind of workload measurement applied in local authorities across the country,” she said.

Julie said the union represents more than 30,000 local authority staff across the country: “Close to 10,000 jobs were lost from the sector following the financial crisis in 2008, and services were only maintained because staff here took on additional responsibilities above their pay grades, and this happened in every local authority in the country.

“Local authorities experienced the greatest reduction of numbers of employees during the austerity era, leading to what we see as a significant ‘grade drift’ in the sector. It means, simply, that many people are working above the grade at which they’re employed. We need to measure the extent of that and make sure that staff are treated fairly,” she said.

Fórsa, which referred the issue to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), has said the only way to deal with the issue is to implement an independent job evaluation exercise.

Fórsa national secretary Richy Carrothers added: “The WRC process has stalled because the employer is currently refusing to negotiate or conciliate any further.  But this matter isn’t going to go away because management simply ignore it.

“We sent a Valentine’s message to management this week, asking them to show some love for local authority staff. The best way for management to do that is to implement a fair and independent evaluation scheme.

“We have no option now but to engage and escalate the matter. This will include a ballot for industrial escalation, up to and including the possibility of strike action.

“We want equity and fair treatment for our members in local authorities, consistent with the approach taken in other parts of the public sector, and that’s our Valentine’s message to management this week,” he said.

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