Wednesday 25 January 2017

Luas staff filmed stopping Independent.ie from speaking to morning commuters about strike action

David Kearns

Published 10/02/2016 | 12:28

As tens of thousands of commuters face major disruptions tomorrow and Friday due to Luas strike action, workers for the rail service today tried to prevent Independent.ie from asking members of the public their opinions on the stoppages.

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Filming near the Connolly stop on the red line, reporters from Independent.ie and the Herald were approached by three individuals who identified themselves as staff for Transdev, the company that operates the Luas service.

The group proceeded to disrupt attempts at filming the busy Luas stop and interviewing those waiting there despite the journalists identifying themselves and filming from a public space.

“You can’t film, you don’t have permission,” said one of the staff.

“You shouldn’t be on the platform, you’re not allow to be up there.”

“This is private property. We’ve cameras watching and we’re telling you to move on,” said another.

At one point, one of the Luas workers interrupted a woman saying she did not agree with the strike and told the reporters that “Control wants you off. You’ve no right to film here.”

Initially speaking to commuters on the raised platform at the stop, the reporters complied with the request and moved to the street, a public area, a few metres away.

However, the Transdev staff continued with their efforts to disrupt attempts to ask commuters their opinions on the strike.

One even placed his hand over the lens of the camera to prevent filming from the street.

Defusing the situation, one worker said he would “apologise if we’re wrong… but Control says you not allowed to take photos.”

“Can you work with us; we’re getting enough grief off everyone today.”

He went on: “Just stop for five minutes and once we clarify we’ll have no problem…”

However, off camera another Luas worker went so far as to demand to see the video being shot.

“I want to see the photos you’re taking,” they said.

“I’ve a right to see them… I want any with me deleted. You don’t have permission to be here.”

Told that they could not stop anyone filming in a public space, some of the Transdev staff continued with their complaints and even went to a nearby Garda station to voice their frustrations.

Eventually they gave up after a guard explained that they had no right to block filming at the Luas stop from the street or demand that footage taken be deleted.

Services on the red and green lines will not run tomorrow or Friday, or next Thursday and Friday. Normal service will resume this Saturday and Saturday, February 20, at 6.30am.

LUAS operator Transdev says they can not afford the workers’ pay claim of up to 53pc, which is over five years.

Transdev will be hit with a fine for every day that it fails to run the service during two disruptive 48-hour strikes.

Speaking this morning, Transport Minister Pascal Donohoe warned that the company will be in breach of contract during the work stoppages and he does not want to see a second strike go ahead.

Mr Donohoe said tomorrow's strike is the last thing Dublin needs and is "not fair" to the travelling public.

"The Luas strikes will have an exceptionally disruptive effect on the functioning of our city tomorrow," he said. "90,000 people depend on that service to get in and out of the city and it's not fair to them in terms of the impact it will have on their daily lives."

Luas tickets will not be valid on other public transport services during the strikes and Transdev will not be providing an alternative transport service.

However, customers with Luas pre-paid or Taxsaver tickets will be eligible for a refund during the strikes.

Customers affected this week can apply for a refund from February 15, while those affected by the second strike can apply from February 22. Contact Luas Customer Care, on 1850 300 604

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