Ireland’s largest public service union, Fórsa, today (29th March) welcomed the publication of the Government’s plan for rural Ireland, ‘Our Rural Future: Rural Development Policy 2021-2025,’ and called for engagement on the development of agreed and comprehensive guidelines on the implementation and management of remote working in the public sector.
Fórsa said public service management and unions should quickly reach agreement on a clear and consistent public service approach to remote working, based on principles of fair access, adequate employee protections, and robust measures to underpin continued public service quality and productivity. It said this would underpin the official ambition of making remote work the norm for 20% of public servants.
The union said it was currently finalising proposals, which could form the basis for talks on such an agreement under the umbrella of the Building Momentum public service agreement, which commits management and unions to accommodate “the potential of remote working where appropriate in line with the Programme for Government” and to establish the public service “as a driver of best practice in this area.”
The experience of remote working in the public service has been innovative, and largely positive with regard to outputs, productivity, and service delivery and quality.
Fórsa general secretary Kevin Callinan said: “The rapid expansion of home working during the Covid-19 pandemic has heralded a permanent shift towards significant levels of remote working in sectors across the economy. The experience of remote working in the public service has been innovative, and largely positive with regard to outputs, productivity, and service delivery and quality. Fórsa shares the Government’s ambition to build on this achievement to position the public service as a driver of enhanced and improved home working in ways that deliver for society, service-users, employers and employees.”