Date Released: 18 September 2015
SIPTU members in Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) have served notice that industrial action will commence on Monday, 5th October, due to the failure of Dublin City Council to maintain agreed minimum safety critical staffing levels.
SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, said: “Further to the ongoing failure by Dublin City Council and the management of DFB to maintain agreed minimum safety critical staffing levels sufficient to provide safe systems of work our members have been left with no option but to commence industrial action.
“Initially, members will be directed to refrain from working unsustainable levels of voluntary overtime on selected dates. We will inform the management of DFB the dates that this action will be taken on in the coming days.”
SIPTU DFB Convenor, Gerry Harris, said: “Our members have been forced into this regrettable action because of management reneging on an agreement concerning the recruitment of new firefighters which was reached in May 2015. This agreement set out a plan to recruit new firefighters which was in line with a circular from the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Alan Kelly, that directed management to ensure safety critical posts where maintained at agreed levels.
“Following this decision by management, SIPTU representatives agreed to attend a number of meetings of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) in an attempt to find another solution. However, at these meetings the management of DFB and Dublin City Council failed to present a credible alternative plan.”
He added: “At present DFB cannot provide a full service to the public without the use of unsustainable levels of overtime and the cancellation of safety critical firefighter training. For example, today (Friday 18th September) due to understaffing the service in Donnybrook Fire Station was reduced to 50% cover even though there were 22 firefighters on overtime.”
SIPTU members in DFB voted for industrial action, up to and including strike action in a ballot, which was counted on 25th August. The DFB is currently estimated to be 70 firefighters under strength. By January 2016 this figure is expected to have risen to over 100 meaning DFB will be operating with between 10% and 15% less than the required level of firefighters to meet safety standards.