Retained fire fighters nationally are set to take industrial action from next Tuesday, (June 6th).
They are insisting on a better work / life balance and better conditions in order to retain and recruit staff.
Retained fire fighters are on call 24.7, 365 days a year, and must be always available to respond to an emergency call.
While they are on a fixed annual retainer of 8,500 euro and can make additional monies depending on how many call outs they attend, Mayo’s Tom Ketterick says it’s not enough.
Retained fire fighters are employed by the local authority, but their grievances are with the Dept of Housing.
Tom is the Chairman of the national negotiating team and he has been telling Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley what a retention fire fighter is, why they are resorting to strike action from next week…
Midwest News have contact both Mayo Co Co and the Department of Housing for a comment on the matter.
The Department of Housing say....
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage is very aware of the challenges associated with both the recruitment and retention of retained fire personnel being experienced by some local authorities around the country. This is the reason the Minister directed the Management Board of the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) to review the delivery and sustainability of the local authority ‘Retained’ Fire Services, with particular emphasis on the recruitment and retention of staff. Following substantial engagement with retained firefighters, staff representatives, fire service senior management and local authority employers, together with in depth research and analysis of the current model, a review was completed and published by the Minister (Dec 2022) titled
“Retained Fire Services in Ireland - A Review of Recruitment and Retention and the Future Sustainability of Service Delivery”.
What is clear from the findings of the review report is that the work/life balance of retained firefighters needs to be addressed to ensure the sustainability of retained fire services as an attractive employment option. All parties accept the findings of the report as a fair reflection of the current state of retained fire service provision and agree with the need to pursue the implementation of the recommendations made to ensure the future sustainability of retained fire services. Work is underway to begin implementing the recommendations set out in this report, through agreed structures, that will include active engagement with staff representatives in the Retained Fire Service.
The recommendations aim to enhance the model of service delivery by maintaining the strengths of retained fire services, while addressing issues that act as a barrier to recruitment and retention. The significant challenge in delivering change is balancing the organisational requirement and ability to respond with the life needs of the individual retained fire service personnel.
I understand that during the most recent facilitation discussions held with LGMA and SIPTU, substantial progress was made on the provision of a revised model of retained fire service delivery that would provide for both an effective service delivery, and a suitable work / life balance for retained firefighters, including structured time off and flexible work arrangements.
While a positive conclusion to the process to the satisfaction of all parties has not yet been reached, Minister O’Brien encourages all parties to continue to engage constructively on resolving the outstanding IR issues within the established forum.
We are awaiting a response from Mayo Co Co.