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New Irish public service union created: Fórsa

18 December 2017
A new Irish public service union called Fórsa, with over 80,000 members, will come into being in early 2018 after the members of IMPACT, the Civil, Public and Services Union (CPSU), and the Public Service Executive Union (PSEU) voted overwhelmingly to amalgamate the three organisations.

Eighty-six percent of IMPACT members who voted backed the merger. CPSU members backed it by 76% and PSEU members voted 70% in favour. The Registrar for Friendly Societies, which regulates Ireland’s trade unions, is now expected to sanction the merger in early 2018.

Fórsa will represent workers across the civil and public services, commercial and non-commercial semi-state organisations, the community and voluntary sector, and private companies in aviation, telecommunications and elsewhere. It will be the second largest union in the country, and the strongest and most influential trade union voice in the public service and semi-state sector.

Speaking after the announcement of the final ballot results today (Monday), IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody said: “Fórsa will be a progressive platform for trade unionism in Ireland. It will strengthen the hand and amplify the voice of civil and public servants and the vital services they provide. It will work for a more prosperous and secure future for the 80,000-plus workers we now represent and the thousands more that need the protection of a strong, sure friend in the workplace and in our communities.”

IMPACT president Pat Fallon welcomed the overwhelming endorsement of the new union, but also noted that a small number of IMPACT branches had voted ‘no.’ “This new organisation will be stronger and better resourced than what went before and we are equally determined to protect the interests of every group within the civil service and across our entire membership,” he said.

By pooling the resources of the three unions Fórsa will also be financially stronger. From day one, the new union will have €85 million in assets including a €50 million dispute fund.

There is now a statutory six-week waiting period before the amalgamation can be approved by the Registrar of Friendly Societies. This will end in early January 2018, after which the Registrar is expected to approve the instrument of amalgamation, and the merger will take effect.

Fórsa will represent literally hundreds of different professions, grades and occupations. It will represent 30,000 civil servants, 30,000 health workers, 12,000 education staff, 10,000 local authority workers, and 6,500 people in semi-state organisations and private companies.

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