Over 100,000 commuters face strikes in Irish Rail pay row
MORE than 100,000 rail commuters are facing one and two-day strikes after Irish Rail announced it will press ahead with pay cuts for staff.
Management said yesterday it will implement temporary pay cuts on August 24 despite its largest workers' union voting against them.
But Siptu said it plans to initiate industrial action on the same day the Labour Court proposals are implemented.
A spokesman told the Irish Independent this could consist of rolling one or two-day strikes together with a slowdown of operations.
He said: "Siptu informed the management of Irish Rail that our members will engage in industrial action if the company implements planned pay cuts next month."
The measures are in line with Labour Court recommendations.
Staff on salaries of up to €56,000 would see their wages cut by 1.7pc, rising to 6.1pc for those earning above €100,000.
The measures have already been introduced for the senior management team, who have reduced their pay by 6.1pc, and board members have implemented a reduction in directors' fees.
The union spokesman added that Siptu's National Rail Committee are due to meet next Tuesday to discuss the industrial action in more detail.
Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said finding a solution was in "everyone's interest" given the €147m in accumulated losses it had incurred over the past six years.
He said the national authority for public transport "is in a precarious financial situation and is dependent on continued bank funding".
"Cost-saving measures have already been agreed in Bus Eireann and Dublin Bus and savings also need to be made in Irish Rail.
"There have already been substantial fare increases and the payroll savings must happen in the context of the very difficult financial challenges that the company faces.
"It is quite clear to me that it is in everyone's interest that these savings are achieved – not just in the interest of everyone who uses rail services but also in the long-term interest of everyone who works in Irish Rail."
Mr Donohue said he was "disappointed" that Siptu members had rejected the proposals last week, but noted that a "significant" number of employees had accepted them.