Over 100,000 rail passengers face strike chaos
MORE than 100,000 train passengers a day face the prospect of travel chaos as a union prepares to hold an immediate ballot on an all-out strike if pay cuts are imposed.
Irish Rail will reduce wages by an average of 1.7pc if the cuts get the backing of a majority of staff in a ballot this week.
Members of SIPTU – the largest union at the semi-state transport company – are expected to accept the wage reductions on Friday.
This will give Irish Rail the green light to go ahead with the temporary pay cuts, which last for 25 months.
But the National Bus and Railworkers' Union (NBRU), which rejected the cuts, last night warned its more than 560 members would vote on industrial action if they were introduced without its agreement.
"We will immediately ballot our members for industrial action up to and including all-out strike in the event of the company implementing changes to terms and conditions without agreement," said General Secretary Dermot O'Leary.
Although SIPTU is likely to back the pay cuts, its members are also likely to refuse to pass the pickets if the NBRU goes on strike, causing a major headache for chief executive David Franks.
Irish Rail will not say how soon it will bring in the pay cuts if they are accepted by most staff. It is likely to announce an implementation date following the SIPTU ballot result next Friday.
It is understood that a previous agreement with unions means there is a requirement for the company to give a month's notice if it plans to alter staff terms and conditions.
The temporary pay cuts range from 1.7pc for staff earning up to €56,000 to 6.1pc for those earning over €100,000 a year.