Fórsa has agreed to enter a dialogue about the future of water service delivery with the Government and employers. But, like other unions in the water sector, the union has ruled out an Irish Water proposal for a single water authority.
Fórsas’ engagement in the dialogue will commence when the union gets assurances that neither the Government nor Irish Water intends to unilaterally change current arrangements, which are based on ‘service level agreements’ between Irish Water and local authorities. Local government minister Eoghan Murphy has also given a commitment to a referendum on keeping water services in public ownership.
The unions have said they would always oppose any plan to transfer of staff out of local authorities without their agreement.
Last year, Irish Water outlined its intention to create a single water agency and employer by 2021, four years before the expiry of current service level agreements with local authorities.
Fόrsa favours streamlining the existing SLA model instead. The head of the union’s local government and municipal division, Peter Nolan, says he would consider a democratically-accountable non-commercial state board, so long as a viable future role for local authorities formed part of any reform package.
Peter is currently running a series of information meetings with Fόrsa local authority branches across the country.
Meanwhile, the union contributed to an ICTU presentation at an Oireachtas joint committee hearing into the matter on Thursday (22nd February).