Monday 27 February 2017

Luas strike: Get set for more traffic chaos as motorists warned of 'long tail backs'

David Kearns

An Empty Stephens Green Luas platform in Dublin due to a strike over pay disputes Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
An Empty Stephens Green Luas platform in Dublin due to a strike over pay disputes Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Up to 90,000 Luas commuters face another headache getting to work this morning as tram drivers remain on strike during a 48-hour work stoppage over pay increases.

Yesterday thousands of commuters heading into Dublin’s city centre were forced to make alternative travel arrangements, leading to heavy congestion around the capital.

Traffic is slow again today as buses and trains remained packed.

AA Roadwatch is advising motorists to expect long tailbacks today, especially during rush-hour traffic.

The Dundrum bypass, as well as the Clonskeagh, Milltown, Ranelagh and the Grand Canal areas, are particularly vulnerable to traffic logjams, a spokesperson said.

Read More: We'll strike every week, warn Luas drivers in pay row

Striking LUAS drivers pictured on the picket line at the Red Cow LUAS depote Picture Colin Keegan
Striking LUAS drivers pictured on the picket line at the Red Cow LUAS depote Picture Colin Keegan

Luas is advising customers that its service will not resume until Saturday at 6.30am, and that further stoppages are scheduled for next Thursday and Friday.

In a statement on the Luas website, Transdev, the company which operates the light rail service, reports that Luas tickets are not valid for other public transport and that no alternative transport services have been arranged.

Dublin Bus and Irish Rail have also said they not in the position to offer extra services to accommodate the increased number of commuters using their services this morning. 

The Luas dispute is over a pay claim of up to 54 pc over the next five years for tram drivers.

Some 240 staff are taking part in the 48-hour work stoppage.

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

SIPTU, who represents the workers, said the union could not rule out further action after next week’s planned strikes for Thursday and Friday.

"I can see a sustained period of industrial action, with one- or two-day stoppages every week or 10 days, indefinitely,” said SIPTU organiser Owen Reidy.

"It's more than likely we will be announcing more dates early next week, for the first week in March.

"I can't see any short-term breakthrough.

"I anticipate the drivers are in this for the long haul.”

Luas operator Transdev faces a €100,000-a-day 'fine' for failing to provide a service on the light rail network.

Read More: Luas workers 'have no option' over strike

Managing Director Gerry Madden has apologised to commuters, saying: “(We are) very disappointed that SIPTU have chosen to take this action, we have been working tirelessly to try and get them to modify their claim and call of these strikes.”

“I’d like to take this opportunity to make a heartfelt apology to all the commuters and the Luas passengers.”

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