News Irish News

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Luas drivers cancel 48-hour strike this weekend

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

Anne-Marie Walsh, Industry Correspondent

PASSENGERS will be able to use the Luas this weekend after drivers cancelled a 48-hour strike as their colleagues begin talks.

Siptu said the tram company's 172 drivers have agreed to call off work stoppages on Saturday and Sunday “to try and create space for talks”.

Ticket inspectors, their supervisors and control room staff will meet with Luas operator Transdev tomorrow to discuss a new pay proposal.

However, the drivers and the company have still not agreed to enter talks on the pay package, which would mean a pay hike of 10pc over 33 months.

Union official Owen Reidy said they have also sought a meeting with Minister for Transport, Paschal Donohoe.

“Drivers have unconditionally agreed to cancel this weekend’s strikes to demonstrate their good will and bona fides in trying to resolve the dispute,” he said.

When asked why they refused to do this during the 1916 commemoration weekend, he said that was “in the past”.

“It’s about trying to reach an agreement in the time ahead,” he said.

Staff contacted the company to seek clarification on its pay proposal after it put them on protective notice and threatened to take them off the payroll from next Monday it they refused to carry out their full duties.

The threat came after the company received notice of further strikes and the drivers’ intention to recommence a work-to-rule.

The work-to-rule would have involved a ban on overtime and non cooperation, which meant no swapping of shifts, no inter depot transfers, and strictly adhering to rosters, and finish and break times.

In addition, drivers would not answer their employer’s phone calls and texts outside of rostered working hours.

Transdev also warned that it may begin to recoup its losses due to industrial action from their wages after next weekend.

The company extended the closing date for its pay offer to enable discussions to take place. It was due to take the proposal off the table yesterday.

The proposal for a 10pc pay rise is lower than a Workplace Relations Commission package for pay rises up to 18pc, which staff rejected by almost 100pc.

It no longer contains a long service increment worth over 7pc and arbitration on a bonus that was due this year.

Staff sacrificed the bonus by taking industrial action, which was agreed in a previous deal with their employer.

Meanwhile, Siptu will hold a general meeting with staff in Liberty Hall on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the Transdev pay proposal.

Transdev welcomed the cancellation of the weekend strikes.

It said it will write to Siptu to see if there is a basis for renewed talks with the drivers.

It confirmed its meeting with the revenue protection officers and their supervisors and control room grades on its 10pc pay rise proposal and “ways to find a lasting resolution to this ongoing dispute”.

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