Monday 25 September 2017

#Irish Rail strike: Have your say - how will the strike affect you?

The strike action will take place between 6am and 9am.
The strike action will take place between 6am and 9am.

Geraldine Gittens

Thousands of rail commuters will be inconvenienced tomorrow morning by the strike action between 6am and 9am.

Talks between unions and Irish Rail in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) broke down in the early hours of this morning, so far failing to find a resolution to avert the Bank Holiday weekend strike action.

IBEC has warned that the strike action will come at a huge cost to Ireland's economy, as workers, shoppers and tourists, will be unable to make their planned train journeys.

How will the Irish Rail strike affect you? We want to hear your story. Tell us by emailing contact@independent.ie, or use #IndoSubmit on Twitter.

Paul Quinn, who has been commuting by train for more than 10 years told independent.ie: "I think what annoys me most about the proposed strike action tomorrow is that they’re punishing their most loyal customers, the workers, who buy weekly, monthly and annual tickets."

"My annual ticket from Dundalk to Dun Loaghaire has nearly increased 50pc in the last five to seven years and up until now I’ve stuck by them, even though services are probably worse now than years ago. I will seriously consider other public transport options if these strike days go ahead," he said.

Iarnród Éireann has said customers who purchase their tickets through their company as part of the Taxsaver scheme can apply for a refund for the day that their travel plans were impacted by the Industrial Action.

The Taxsaver refund form is available through the Irish Rail website, and should be completed from Tuesday October 27.

Maeve McElwee, head of Industrial Relations and Human Resources at Ibec said workers and companies will be forced to look at alternative ways of getting to work.

“It does have a very significant cost across the economy, even just from the point of view of business in the city centre, people getting to various events, people coming in for shopping, coming for tourism and recreational activities. All of those get diverted. People make other arrangements; tourists simply change their plans and postpone their trips and don’t take the journeys.”

Ms McElwee said companies will be advising staff on alternative ways to get to work.

Read More: Tánaiste Joan Burton: Public will be biggest losers from tomorrow's planned rail strike

“The whole issue of staff not being able to get into work is a huge issue. Companies are having to make alternative arrangements, giving people leave, trying to arrange some sort of flexitime. It’s the peak time of people travelling to work.

“Mostly employers will go out and see what they can do and have contingencies in place. They’ll look at car pooling opportunities, some companies will look at transport opportunities for staff, or if they can work from home.”

“Planned activities and where people would have spent money on the economy, the money isn’t there," Ms McElwee added.

Private bus companies will increase the number of buses on the road, she said.

“For people who are inevitably late, many companies allow people to work up some time.”

The talks between unions and Irish Rail in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) broke down - that concluded at 3.30am - were set to resume at 11.30am this morning.

The unions representing the drivers, Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU), have said that their members balloted in favour of industrial action over past productivity issues.

Talks about this issue broke down in the WRC as recently as last week, however all parties agreed to return to the table earlier this week.

Today, NBRU and SIPTU responded to an Irish Rail statement on the fact that an earnings increase of up to 7.9pc is achievable for drivers.

General Secretary of the NBRU Dermot O'Leary and Paul Cullen Assistant Organiser SIPTU said: "The intervention by the WRC on the 9th October was based on issues which both parties sought to have addressed as part of the overall agenda, including previous discussions on productivity already delivered, along with future productivity, which, if agreed would have the potential for drivers to generate their own potential earnings increase”

Mr O’Leary and Mr Cullen added: “Both Unions, have, over the last number of days publicly expressed our outright frustration with the inability of the company to negotiate on all matters relating to our pre-agreed agenda, to say that we have reached a position where productivity measures can be delivered, which will generate an increase in earnings for drivers is manifestly untrue and is designed to create a false and misleading impression among both the public and our members, we, despite this rather crude attempt at provocation, remain committed to the process which is currently being facilitated by the WRC”

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