Friday 30 September 2016

Commuter pain as second train strike set to go ahead

Emma Jane Hade and Niall O'Connor

Published 06/11/2015 | 02:30

Trains standing idle on the platform of Heuston Station during the last three-hour strike by train drivers at Iarnród Éireann
Trains standing idle on the platform of Heuston Station during the last three-hour strike by train drivers at Iarnród Éireann

Commuters are likely to be hit by a third wave of strike action, as talks aimed at ending the ongoing row between management and Irish Rail workers continued late into last night.

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Dramatic eleventh hour talks aimed at averting this morning's rush hour work stoppage in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) continued late last night, as Irish Rail urged customers to make alternative travel plans.

And sources have indicated that now the unions involved, Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU), will meet again next week to discuss the possibility of further industrial action in what could become a 'winter of discontent'.

This came from sources close to the talks last night shortly after midnight, who indicated that the strike was still going ahead but that the discussions were ongoing.

Commuters who rely on the country's rail network were already forced to make contingency plans after being hit by strike action in the capital and surrounding areas between 6am and 9am on October 24.

Today, up to 159 services are likely to be affected all around the country, and it is believed this will cause chaos for up to 60,000 commuters.

This comes just two weeks after the rail workers' last stoppage on October 24, which affected 40,000 users on the eve of the Bank Holiday weekend.

But the number of people who will be affected today is likely to rise, as schools are back in term.

A source close to the talks indicated last night that there could be further industrial action in the coming weeks, but said the discussions were progressing slowly towards the "fundamental issues" of past productivity and the working week which are the "make or break" topics. "Progress is extremely slow and the fundamentals remain as they were. If today goes ahead, we will be meeting next week to discuss further strike action," he added.

Irish Rail chief executive David Franks last week wrote to staff warning that their demands have become "unaffordable".

Irish Independent

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