Ireland’s largest public service union also seeks engagement on operational matters
Fórsa’s elected officers met today (Friday) and issued the following statement in regard to cooperation with measures to deal with the coronavirus:
“Fórsa and its members across the civil, public, private, voluntary and semi-state sectors are committed to cooperating fully with emergency measures necessary to contain the Covid-19 coronavirus, protect the health and safety of citizens and workers, and maintain essential services during this unprecedented public health emergency.
“The union will continue to advise its members to co-operate with all necessary measures, including some that might not be acceptable in normal times, so long as employers consult with the appropriate unions, respect existing collective agreements, and reach agreement with the union if they feel it necessary to waive aspects of collective agreements in the short-term.”
Sustained consultation with Fórsa and other unions will bring their experience and expertise to the table in terms of what can work best.
Following the meeting, the union’s general secretary Kevin Callinan said he expected that many civil and public servants would be “asked to do different things, in different ways, and at different times during this emergency.”
He urged the Government and public authorities to engage directly with Fórsa and other unions to smooth the implementation of operational changes required to deal with the virus.
“Fórsa stands ready to do whatever is necessary to help contain the virus, protect the health and safety of citizens, and maintain essential services during this unprecedented emergency.
Civil and public servants will be asked to do different things, in different ways, and at different times during this emergency.
“Sustained consultation with Fórsa and other unions will bring their experience and expertise to the table in terms of what can work best, at an operational level, in the health sector and elsewhere. I’m calling on the Government to involve us with immediate effect,” he said.
Mr Callinan also said the union’s officers had instructed him to cancel all Fórsa face-to-face meetings for the time being, and to redeploy staff to prioritise dealing with members’ queries quickly and efficiently, including at weekends.
“This is a rapidly-changing situation and our priority is to ensure that the union’s officials and staff are available to liaise with management and deal with members’ queries and concerns, quickly and effectively. Like the workers they service, Fórsa staff will have to do different things in different ways and at different times during this emergency,” he said.
Covid-19: Union prioritises members’ concerns – Fórsa members’ SPECIAL COVID-19 news bulletin Friday 13th March 2020