Date Published : August 27th, 2015 Published By : adminSIPTU Sector organiser Brendan O’Brien has issued a letter to SIPTU members saying the result of the ballot was that 96 % were in favour of industrial action and 87 % were in favour of strike action. Mr O’ Brien said the ballot was taken ‘following the decision by the chief executive of Dublin City Council to renege on the agreement reached in May on recruiting new fire fighters.’
An overwhelming mandate’ was received by the union to take action in support of it’s members in Dublin Fire Brigade who O’Brien said, ‘have been exposed by management to increased and unacceptable levels of risk arising from their failure to uphold our agreement to maintain minimum staffing levels.’
According to a source within Dublin Fire Brigade, staff shortages mean that sometimes crew levels can be down 20% on what they should be and this ‘seriously reducing the level of cover to the city.’
It was agreed in may that Dublin City Council would hold an open competition for new fire fighters to join Dublin Fire Brigade, however, SIPTU says the council wants to proceed with internal recruitment which Mr O’Brien does not believe will succeed in recruiting the numbers needed as quickly as they are needed.
Currently, there is deficit of 70 fire fighters at the moment and SIPTU expects that to reach 100 by the end of this year due to the rate of retirement. Mr O’Brien said that fire fighters recruited today would not be ready for one year as they have to go through training and “in the meantime we sometimes do not have enough fire fighters to allow our appliances to be dispatched,” without calling in staff who are on rest days or on training days.
“It is a matter of urgency that the open competition starts. We do not want to see our members or the public at unnecessary risk,” he added.
The Dublin Fire Brigade SIPTU dispute committee are expected to hold a meeting to consider the outcome of the ballot and the union will decide on what course of action will be taken next.