DART strike threat deepens after unions refuse to attend talks over new 10-minute service
Published 21/03/2016 | 16:55
THE threat of a strike at the DART has deepened after unions refused to attend talks tomorrow over a new 10 minute service.
Siptu and the Nbru said the dispute over the more frequent service that is due to be introduced on April 10 has been overtaken by pay increases negotiated at the Luas last week, which they are now demanding for their members.
They said they will not engage with Irish Rail at the Workplace Relations Commission until it responds to their claim for an increase to match the Luas increase as well as the payment of 6pc due under an old social partnership agreement.
Members of the unions have balloted in favour of industrial action, up to strike action, if the company imposes the new service without their agreement.
The pay increase proposed at the Luas – which will be balloted on this week – is worth over 6pc a year to most drivers. This is well ahead of pay rises being given in most other sectors.
They will receive pay rises up to 18.3pc over two and three quarter years, bringing their pay from €42,247 to around €50,000 a year at the top of the pay scale.
Irish Rail said it regrets the decisions of the unions to withdraw from tomorrow’s talks at the Workplace Relations Commission.
“Refusal to cooperate in a roster change associated with a new timetable is deeply regrettable, as it is through our timetable that we provide our customers with the services they require,” it said in a statement.
It said it has trained additional drivers to deliver the increased frequency service within existing rostering parameters. However, unions claim there are not enough drivers to run the new service.
Irish Rail said it was notable that during the recession, when DART frequency was reduced, roster and timetable changes were accepted without issue.
“But as we seek to restore DART services in line with demand our trade unions refuse to engage with the company,” it said.
It said Irish Rail is in an extremely difficult financial position.
“We will only emerge from this by ensuring our business can grow in line with demand and through meeting our customers’ requirements,” it said.
“We will review how best to proceed to ensure we can meet those requirements at the earliest possible opportunity.”