Sunday 26 October 2014

Deal agreed on Irish Rail dispute

Published 03/09/2014 | 08:47

A deal has been reached to resolve a dispute at Irish Rail

A deal agreed between workers and management at Irish Rail to call off planned strikes is essential step in addressing the company's dire finances, the Transport Minister has said.

Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union cancelled industrial action which would have shut the rail lines over the two All-Ireland weekends after marathon talks with troubleshooters.

It is understood a document agreed on a way forward for cost-cutting is comprehensive and addresses the concerns of union leaders and the financial crisis at the company.

Workers will be asked to vote on it.

Paschal Donohoe, Transport Minister, who had refused to intervene in the long-running row, welcomed the decision to call off the strikes.

"The fact that agreement has been reached by unions and management, which will allow the planned strike action to be averted, is most welcome," he said.

"All parties to the dispute are aware of the financial predicament of the company and this agreement is an essential element in addressing the challenges the company face."

The agreement was reached at the Labour Relations Commission in the early hours of this morning.

The railways were shut down for a weekend last month, leaving tens of thousands of sports fans with limited public transport and 100,000 commuters taking to the roads.

A repeat 48-hour stoppage had been planned for this weekend and a third stoppage on September 21.

Irish Rail has warned that due to Government cuts and the recession, it is operating with a deficit of approximately 60 million euro (£47.7 million).

The company said senior management have taken a salary cut of 6.1% and t hey want workers to take cuts of between 1.7% for those earning 56,000 euro (£44,000) or less - three-quarters of the workforce - up to just over 6% for employees on 100,000 euro (£79,000) or more.

It is aiming to save another 17 million euro (£13.5 million) on top of years of budget cuts.

Irish Rail said it will run out of money next year if it does not cut wages this year.

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