Thursday 23 February 2017

Over at last: Luas strike finished as drivers get pay increases of 18pc

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

General view of Luas arriving at St. Stephen's Green stop
General view of Luas arriving at St. Stephen's Green stop

STRIKE chaos at the Luas is over after drivers backed proposals for pay increases up to 18pc over the next four years.

Passengers will be relieved after drivers voted 2:1 in favour of a Labour Court recommendation to end the disruptive row that has shut the red and green lines during for 12 days of strikes.

Sitpu said there were 108 votes in favour and 56 votes against in the ballot counted at the Red Cow Depot this evening.

Transdev also said it has agreed to accept the recommendation.

 

“We are pleased with the outcome of the ballot," said Transdev, Managing Director, Gerry Madden.

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This vote by employees in favour of the Labour Court recommendation is positive news.

"As our other three grades had previously agreed settlement terms at local level back in April this now brings the dispute to an end.”

Siptu Divisional Organiser, Owen Reidy, said drivers made an informed decision to accept the court's proposals.

“The workers recognise that this recommendation deals with the reduction of the terms and conditions of new entrants to the Luas driver grade by committing the company to a comprehensive review of this issue within the next 18 months.

"The proposal commits this review to take into account related developments in the public sector. The recommendation also provides new entrants with a quicker pay acceleration process than had been previously proposed.”

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“The recommendation contains improved terms in relation to the link between productivity and pay increases that will amount to between 15.6% to 18.3% between now and September 2020.

 He said the Luas drivers and their workplace committee displayed great resilience in pursuing a significant improvement in their conditions of employment.

"They have shown what workers can achieve if they maintain unity," he added.

Industrial action has been underway since last February in the dispute over pay rises and conditions.

Drivers will receive wage increases between 15.6pc and 18.3pc up to September 2020, as well as a €750 payment immediately.

The pay rise equals increases ranging from 3.5pc to 4pc per year year every year for the next four years.

It will bring the drivers’ total earnings at the maximum of the scale from €42,247 to €49,972 by September 2020, and €53,220 when a 6.5pc bonus is included.

The court recommended that a Transdev plan to increase the length of their shifts from nine to nine and a half hours should be dropped.

In return, drivers must cooperate with the extension of the Luas service to Broombridge, while spare drivers must agree to cover all available work during their hours of duty.

They will not get back a 6.5pc bonus, worth around €3,000, which they lost for taking part in industrial action but the bonus will return next year and beyond.

A starting salary for new recruits that is 10pc lower than their colleagues for the first three years will stay in place.

However, a review of their pay will be undertaken within 18 months to take account of developments on entrants' pay in the public sector.

In addition, Transdev will restore pay it docked from the drivers for participating in a work-to-rule and wages it deduced after suspending its sick leave scheme.

Siptu must drop Payment of Wages cases it was threatening against the company.

A four-hour work stoppage planned for today was postponed while the ballot was underway.

SIPTU did not issue a recommendation on the court's proposals.

Four further four-hour stoppages had been planned for next week when state exams begin.

In a short statement released this evening Transport Minister Shane Ross welcomed the ballot result and congratulated "all those who worked so hard for a settlement, this is a positive outcome for the travelling public".

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