Friday 30 January 2015

Irish Rail CEO 'on annual leave' despite impending strike

Chief Executive David Franks is 'in constant contact' with leading management - spokesperson

Published 20/08/2014 | 10:38

Irish Rail has warned that it will not be in a position to operate any services on five days over the coming weeks
Irish rail passengers are set for the biggest disruption to the travelling public in recent years in the coming weeks.

Chief Executive of Irish Rail David Franks ‘is working with the management team non-stop’ ahead of the upcoming rail strikes, despite being on annual leave with his wife.

The Iarnrod Eireann boss is 'in constant contact' with leading management ahead of the strikes which begin this weekend, a spokesperson told

Mr Franks is due to return to work next Monday, the second day of the 48-hour strike on August 24 and 25.

“David Franks is away with his wife at the moment but he is in constant contact and is leading management,” the spokesperson said.

“He is working with the management team non-stop. In fact, the trade unions are giving out he is so involved.

“No Chief Executive has communicated more directly with staff and travelled around the company more,” he added.

Irish Rail passengers are set for the biggest disruption to the travelling public in recent years in the coming weeks.

A 48-hour stoppage is set to take place this weekend and another strike is planned for Monday, September 8.

Commuters will be hit on two All-Ireland Sundays, the day of the All-Ireland hurling decider on September 7 and the Gaelic football final on September 21.

Up to 15,000 fans use Irish Rail services during All-Ireland Sundays and both the GAA and Government has called for the action to be called off.

Siptu has told Irish Rail that its members will stop work on four of the five planned dates, with 'work to rule' on one date.

The action follows the company’s announcement to the workforce that temporary pay-cuts will be put in place from August 24. The Labour Court recommended that the pay cuts should apply for 28 months.

The cuts of between 1.7pc and 6.1pc have been accepted by the TSSA, TEEU and Unite trade unions. The measures were rejected by both the NBRU and Siptu.

“We are left with no choice but to implement these measures in the company,” the spokesperson said.

“Most of the trade unions have looked at our books and accepted our decision. They have recognised that we are facing insolvency if we don’t implement these temporary pay-cuts,” he continued.

“After 20 months of talks, we cannot avoid it. Any work stoppages we go through will make us financially a lot worse.

“Right now we don’t have another option, but we do remain hopeful for talks.”

Mr  David Franks joined Irish Rail as Chief Executive in February 2013. He had been Director of Keolis UK, the UK division of the French National Railways, SNCF.

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