Tusla members to commence industrial action tomorrow

Fórsa members employed at the state’s Child and Family agency, Tusla, will commence industrial action tomorrow (Wednesday 25th) in a dispute over the employer’s withdrawal of access to an agreed job evaluation scheme for Tusla staff.

The industrial action will involve Tusla’s clerical and administrative staff employed in grades three to six, who balloted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in September.

Notice of industrial action was served on 4th October and the action will take the form of a series of non-cooperation actions. The union said the dispute has arisen because Tusla has failed to honour a 2013 framework agreement specifically in relation to access to the job evaluation scheme.

When Tusla was formed in 2013, HSE staff were transferred into the newly-formed agency, with terms and conditions from their HSE employment protected by the terms of the framework agreement, including access to a job evaluation scheme, a process for measuring the relative worth of posts in an organisation based on the work a post-holder is doing or is expected to do.

Fórsa official Chris Cully said it’s regrettable that the union has had to take industrial action: “This could have been avoided if Tusla and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) had honoured the undertakings given to staff in our framework agreement.

“However, both the employer and DCEDIY have had their hands effectively tied on this issue by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, which has questioned the ongoing validity of the framework agreement,” she said.

While detailed derogations will apply to some areas of Tusla work, Ms Cully said the union has also instructed members not directly involved in the dispute – but employed by Tusla – to ensure they do not carry out the work of their colleagues taking action, nor to engage in activities deemed to undermine a legitimate industrial action.

The industrial action initially will be in the form of work-to-rule. Fórsa’s clerical and admin members in the affected Tusla grades will be instructed not to carry out the work of other colleagues in their absence, not to undertake work in respect of any vacant post, or work associated with the Tusla reform programme.

Members will also be instructed not to carry out the work of a post of a higher grade without appropriate remuneration, and not to generate or submit reports, or to carry out work associated with parliamentary questions.