Wednesday 29 March 2017

Commuter chaos as four more Luas strikes announced

Luas drivers are set to strike
Luas drivers are set to strike
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

Luas drivers have announced four more days of strike action, as the public faces further transport misery next month.

It comes as Siptu, the union representing the drivers, accused Luas operator Transdev of walking out on talks.

But the company has said that it will talk to the drivers once they amend their pay claim and it becomes more "reasonable".

Siptu yesterday announced further strikes to take place on April 3 and 4, as well as on Wednesday and Thursday, April 23 and April 24.

The drivers have reduced their pay claim from 53pc over five years to 27pc over the same period.

However, a spokesperson for Transdev told the Irish Independent that the company had already said that pay claims of 1pc to 3pc a year, with increased productivity, "would be the norm".

What the drivers are looking for was closer to 6pc, she said.

The union served notice of the action on the company at around 1pm yesterday, with the threat of an all-out strike now looming large.

Previously planned strike action for St Patrick's Day and the Easter bank holiday weekend were also still in place, the union said.

Drivers represent the largest group making a pay claim with the company, with 170 members.

Three more groups - 17 traffic supervisors, 36 ticket checkers and nine of their supervisors - have agreed to continue talking with the company at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). The union has previously accused the company of trying to "divide and conquer" the workers.

In a statement, Transdev said it was "extremely disappointed" with Siptu and the tram drivers.

"Transdev is willing to talk with the driver grade in the WRC but have stated that those talks will only be meaningful if the pay claim is modified to a reasonable point," managing director Gerry Madden said.

Losers

"The public, Luas customers and business are the real losers here. The public will have no tram service for St Patrick's Day, no tram service for Easter weekend and now no tram service for two weekends in April," he added.

Kieran Mulvey, director general of the WRC, said that there was still time to resolve the issue and to avoid all-out strikes.

Siptu has said that drivers have been left with no options.

"The minister has said that the way to deal with this is to talk. Well, we can't talk with ourselves," it said.

It added that the drivers were still open to talks at any time.

Irish Independent

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