Sunday 25 September 2016

Luas operator warns of 'serious consequences' of further strikes

Anne-Marie Walsh

Published 05/05/2016 | 02:30

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Luas operator Transdev has warned of "serious long-term consequences" for all involved in the disruptive tram dispute - as eight more strikes are planned for next month.

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As the troubled tram company considers laying off drivers, it apologised to customers for the latest halting of services yesterday.

The next strike will take place on Friday week, while up to eight further strikes in June may be announced before the week is out.

Yesterday's strike was the 10th since the bitter row over pay rises and better conditions began. It brought transport chaos, with little room on buses and traffic crawling along the quays.

The National Transport Authority said: "This is a dispute between Transdev and its employees, and on the days that services are not provided we are not paying. We would encourage the parties to resolve the dispute."

Passengers

Dublin Bus said it will not have figures on passenger numbers for a few days, but said its services were "extremely busy".

The bus service, which usually carries 400,000 passengers a day, was running at maximum capacity with all 950 buses deployed on all routes.

"Our full fleet was deployed and will be deployed in the evening peak," said a spokeswoman.

"We continue to advise customers to leave extra time for their journey, especially if they are travelling at peak times."

An Irish Rail spokeswoman said passengers transferring from Connolly to Heuston Station suffered "hardship" but that the buses "picked up a lot of the slack".

One disgruntled commuter said it took 20 minutes to get from Busáras to the quays, while the journey from Heuston Station to the city centre was taking more than 25 minutes in gridlocked traffic.

In a message to passengers on its website, Transdev said the dispute is proving difficult to resolve as the pay demands before it are "excessive".

It said the current Siptu demand for a 23pc pay rise between now and 2019 would bring a driver's €42,247 pay, including a bonus, to €55,467.

"Transdev is financially unable to meet this demand," it said. It also said the figures do not take into account "extras" including average working hours of 35 hours a week, overtime rates, a 5pc pension contribution, a partner pension in the event of death, income protection, free parking, Laya employee assistance, free Luas travel, a nurse on site and wedding leave. "The company remains anxious to resolve this dispute, as a further continuation of [it] will have serious long-term consequences for all involved," it said.

Irish Independent

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