Raphoe civil servants threaten to strike

Department of Agriculture staff based in Raphoe have threatened to go on strike if they are moved to different offices.

Department of Agriculture staff based in Raphoe have threatened to go on strike if they are moved to different offices.

According to a report in today’s Irish Independent, the staff say they will strike if they are forced travel 90km or more round trip each day to work.

It is understood that Department officials have decided that the office is Raphoe is “surplus” to requirements and that staff should be redeployed to Buncrana, Letterkenny and Donegal town.

The staff insist they do not have transport available to travel and voted unanimously in favour of industrial action if they are forced to move.

This, the Indo says, is despite the fact that the Croke Park deal rules out industrial action and allows staff to be moved up to 45km radius of their workplace or home address.

However, the agreement also says “regard will also be had to reasonable daily commute time”.

The Civil, Public and Services Union, which represents the staff, said the ballot was necessary because the department would be in breach of the agreement if it moved its members.

It said this was because there was no appeals process in place.

CPSU general secretary Eoin Ronayne said the vote was a protective ballot in support of around eight members who were asked to move, but all 19 members at the office would hold a work stoppage if members were taken off the payroll for refusing to go.

“Letterkenny is not too great a problem, but Buncrana is a 93km round trip and some of our members don’t have a car or public transport and are just one or two years off retirement.

“There should be a way for them to appeal on the grounds of hardship. Up to now, Social Protection has not demanded they move and Agriculture has continued to pay them.

“What we are saying is to postpone the move until an arbitration process has been set up.”

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