Monday 5 December 2016

Luas staff to lose €3,000 bonus if they strike

Anne-Marie Walsh

Published 18/01/2016 | 02:30

More than 240 Luas staff plan to hold two 48-hour strikes next month Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
More than 240 Luas staff plan to hold two 48-hour strikes next month Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Luas workers would lose a bonus worth €2,200 to €3,000 as well as up to four days' wages if they go on strike next month.

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A clause in a collective agreement with their employer, Transdev, says the entire performance-related payment must be sacrificed if they take industrial action.

More than 240 staff plan to hold two 48-hour strikes next month, in pursuit of pay claims of up to 54pc, which would bring chaos to commuters.

Staff are assessed for the bonus payment every three months, and it is made in December. However, the collective agreement says it will not be given if workers down tools.

According to this clause, "should any form of industrial action take place in a particular bonus year, it is accepted that bonus payments will not be paid to any union members participating in such action or actions".

The average bonus is worth €2,200 to a revenue protection officer and €3,000 to a driver, or up to 6.5pc of salary.

Two 48-hour stoppages are planned on February 11 and 12, and February 18 and 19.

A majority of the 180 drivers, 37 revenue protection officers and eight revenue protection supervisors backed the 48-hour strike option. A fourth group of staff, 16 control room officers, will carry out a work-to-rule.

Siptu said Transdev had not offered any increase in pay to staff over the next five years.

It said some of the claims for increases in basic pay were around 30pc, although this increase was being sought over five years.

It has served notice of industrial action in pursuit of the pay rises and also wants improvements in annual leave, bonuses and pensions.

Losses

But Transdev has released figures showing some drivers are seeking a massive pay rise of almost 54pc. It said tram drivers on €42,247 a year were seeking a 53.8pc increase to €64,993 - far more than an Irish Rail driver.

It said pay claims worth between 8.5pc and 53.8pc had been lodged and would cost it €30m over its five-year contract. It said it could not afford them as it lost €700,000 last year, and predicted further losses this year.

A 'no-strike' clause in Siptu's agreement with Transdev was axed three years ago, so next month's action could be the first strike at the company.

"The workers are conscious of the inconvenience these stoppages will have on their customers, but believe they have no option but to conduct this industrial action," said Siptu utilities and construction division organiser Owen Reidy.

He said Transdev was willing only to give pay increases in line with inflation, which stands around zero. "This means that unlike 96pc of other companies across the State, Transdev is not prepared to pay any increase in excess of that attached to workers' existing conditions of employment," he added.

Irish Independent

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