Wednesday 7 December 2016

Commuter misery continues as full Luas strike looms

Luke Byrne and Ryan Nugent

Published 21/05/2016 | 02:30

Commuters walking the Luas track between Ranelagh and Charlemont. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Commuters walking the Luas track between Ranelagh and Charlemont. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Luas drivers are "angry" at the treatment they're receiving from operators Transdev and have not ruled out all-out strike action.

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Siptu members have told their shop stewards they will support an escalation in industrial action if the shop stewards feel it is necessary.

However, Siptu's Owen Reidy has dismissed talk that they have already decided to ballot members, insisting no decision has been made yet.

There was some confusion earlier after shop steward Richard McCarthy claimed drivers had already decided to put an all-out strike to ballot, following a meeting at Dublin's Green Isle Hotel last night.

Mr McCarthy said drivers had to respond after Transdev said it was cancelling the sick day scheme and docking drivers' pay. He also cited the ongoing ban on annual leave.

"The members have taken enough of that and are looking at retaliating with a ballot for an all-out," he said.

However, Mr Reidy later clarified that the Labour Court had requested to meet the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and representatives from Transdev separately next week to decide if an intervention is possible.

"If the Labour Court wants to talk to us through ICTU next week, why would we escalate the ballot? That meeting could have the potential to be positive, but it's premature to predict," Mr Reidy said.

A spokesperson for Transdev said the company would await official correspondence before commenting further.

Rejected

However she rejected any allegation that the company's move on sick pay was unlawful.

Yesterday was the 12th day that Luas drivers have been on strike.

It emerged that some people are spending up to €30 a day on taxis just to get to and from work. Researcher Lisa Reid said her travel time from Heuston to Mayor Square had doubled.

She often struggles to find a taxi at peak times.

"Every time that there's a strike on, I have to get a taxi in. The buses are so busy so that's not really an option. Everyone else is doing the same thing so it costs €15 when it usually would cost about €10 and it adds up.

"It's an additional financial cost you don't need," she said. As she works on Saturdays as well, she has been hit by almost every strike, and has spent close to €200 on taxis since the industrial action began.

As well as those going to work, holidays have been turned upside down by stoppages.

Guests at the Gibson Hotel in the Point Village have made several complaints to staff about the inconvenience of the strikes.

"With our guests, it's become an issue from a leisure perspective. Guests are coming here for a break, they like to park their cars downstairs or come in from the airport and know they can jump on a Luas to get into the city or to the attractions along the line," said Nicky Logue, general manager at the hotel.

Further strike action has been planned for May 26, May 27, June 2, June 3, June 7, June 8, June 9 and June 10.

Irish Independent

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