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Local government workers to resume engagement with politicians’ representations as dispute settled

Local authority staff who have been refusing to deal with representations made by politicians on behalf of constituents are to resume normal working after their dispute over job evaluation was resolved at the Workplace Relations Commission on Monday.

Fórsa, which represents some 12,000 local authority staff, told its members on Tuesday that normal engagement with councillors, TDs and Senators should be resumed in light of the agreement but suggested it would take a period of time to clear any backlog.

The union said it had reached agreement with the Local Government Management Association (LGMA) on the basis to examine how the job evaluation scheme it had been seeking might work.

The issue arises because, the union argued, around 10,000 staff members left the sector around the time of the financial crash and many of those who stayed saw their job evolve without any recognition of the extra work or responsibilities taken on.


The LGMA had suggested that the issue could only be properly addressed in the context of the wider national public sector pay talks, which are due to get under way in the coming weeks.

“For years, our claim was thwarted and resisted by employers who dismissed it as unnecessary and a breach of national agreements,” said Fórsa national secretary, Richy Carrothers, in an internal union communication to members on Tuesday.

“This drove us to industrial action. As a result, we now have a real breakthrough which provides a clear roadmap for the establishment of job evaluation in the sector. Further detailed negotiations will be required at the scoping out stage but it is an important step to achieving the kind of job evaluation scheme that our members need and deserve.”

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The chair of the union’s Local Government and Local Services Division, Michael Whyms, said: “There will be a transition period to normal service and members are encouraged to deal with queries using their usual methodology, whilst being mindful of critical issues and order of receipt.”

He said the union would be writing to politicians to inform them of the situation.