Luas chief warns staff of cuts down the line if strikes not called off
A top executive has warned Luas workers that cuts will be imposed in the company if the current series of strikes continues.
Nigel Stevens, chief executive officer of Transdev UK and Ireland, issued an open letter to staff as a further two-day strike gets under way this weekend.
Mr Stevens stated that he visited "key stakeholders" in Dublin this week. He returned to the UK yesterday.
The Siptu union expressed dismay that Mr Stevens did not meet workers or union representatives and called on him to withdraw his threat of cutbacks.
Workers had voted to reject a pay rise brokered by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), which would have meant rises between 8pc and 18pc within less than three years.
"Transdev will not stand idly by while our already challenging financial position, which has been independently verified, is further eroded," stated Mr Stevens in his letter.
"We are resolute that the current demands are untenable and will not be countenanced regardless of the nature and extent of industrial action that is notified to us," he said.
In a veiled warning that appeared to hint at job cuts, he declared that, if workers continued with strikes, the company would "take action in relation to our operating costs to protect our financial position".
Siptu has threatened four one-day strikes this month in pursuit of an improved pay offer.
Further stoppages are planned for April 23 and 24.
Siptu sector organiser Willie Noone said: "It is deeply disappointing and inexplicable that the CEO of Transdev UK and Ireland would visit Dublin and not meet with Luas workers.
"He obviously does not view the Luas workers or their representatives as being key stakeholders worthy of meeting.
"At such a meeting he would have been informed why the WRC proposals in relation to the Luas dispute were rejected overwhelmingly by workers in a recent ballot."
Siptu organiser John Murphy said: "The implied threat in the CEO's letter to staff that there will be cutbacks at the company if the industrial action continues does not assist in bringing this dispute to a conclusion and we ask him to withdraw it."
Anne Graham, CEO of the National Transport Authority, said that the authority welcomed the company's commitment to fulfilling its contract to provide tram services until 2019 and said the strikes would further inconvenience the public.