Sunday 4 December 2016

Luas strike to go ahead as crunch talks with drivers end in stalemate

Published 26/04/2016 | 02:30

Siptu’s Transport Sector Organiser Willie Noone. Photo: Collins
Siptu’s Transport Sector Organiser Willie Noone. Photo: Collins

Thursday's Luas strike is set to go ahead after crunch talks between drivers and Transdev ended in a stalemate last night.

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Non-driver staff yesterday vowed not to take to the picket line later this week after a new deal with the company over pay and conditions.

Three grades of staff, not including tram drivers, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the revised proposal put forward last week, including a pay hike of up to 13pc.

However, it is understood drivers refused to accept the same deal in a row over the proposed entry-level pay cut for new recruits. Speaking at Transdev headquarters in Dublin yesterday, Siptu's Transport Sector Organiser Willie Noone said: "The new entrant rate was not as problematic with these three grades as they were with the drivers, and still are with the drivers.

"Two of these grades are promotional grades, so the amount of people coming in at the lower entrant rates are very, very small.

"The key thing was that some of the productivity items that had been a cause of concern with those three groups has been resolved," Mr Noone added.

Under the agreement, workers can expect to see phased increases totalling 10pc in their wages over the next 33 months.

An additional increment of around 3pc will also be paid to long-serving staff at Dublin's light rail service.

Dispute

As the long-running dispute trundled on yesterday, revenue protection officers and traffic supervisors both voted to accept the deal by 75pc at the ballot count in the Red Cow depot.

Revenue protection supervisors backed the proposal, which also sees staff receive a further one-off payment of €750 in November, by 85pc. Welcoming yesterday's breakthrough, Transdev Ireland Managing Director Gerry Madden said: "There's a reason why we got a deal with the other grades; it is because they came into a space where they recognised they had to give something in terms of productivity and be reasonable.

"If they did that, we'd be reasonable in return.

"So if the drivers are in that same space, then their colleagues have shown them the way.

"So I think if they look at other grades, take a leaf out of their book, there's definitely a path to resolution here."

Last month, the red and green Luas lines controversially ground to a halt during the official State Commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Five further stoppages are planned for May as the shop steward last night warned that entry-level pay cuts remained a "red-line issue" for drivers.

Mr Noone continued: "The drivers have said to the company that they are willing to look at alternative productivity issues in order to address whatever financial input is needed to get rid of those new entrance rates."

Irish Independent

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