Thursday 29 September 2016

'Useful' Luas talks at the Labour Court - but strikes 'in pipeline'

Martin Grant and Luke Byrne

Published 27/05/2016 | 02:30

Commuters walking along tram lines at the Red Cow depot on a previous strike day. Photo: Colin O’Riordan
Commuters walking along tram lines at the Red Cow depot on a previous strike day. Photo: Colin O’Riordan

The Labour Court could rule on the lengthy pay dispute at Luas within days, after talks between the sides concluded last night.

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Siptu and the Luas operator Transdev met before the Labour Court yesterday, with representatives from both sides afterwards describing the negotiations as "useful".

The meeting was a positive sign in the long-running debacle which has seen thousands of passengers affected by several days of strike action.

Passengers travelling to the Bruce Springsteen concert in Croke Park and the Ireland international at the Aviva Stadium breathed a sigh of a relief after strikes scheduled for yesterday and today were cancelled to facilitate the talks.

Union representatives, Transdev, members of the Luas drivers committee and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) all attended a meeting in a bid to find an agreement to bring the dispute to an end.

ICTU general secretary Patricia King revealed that the Labour Court had contacted the Congress last week and requested a brief on the dispute situation.

She said: "Separately, they made a decision to investigate the dispute further."

Transdev managing director Gerry Madden said discussions in the Labour Court were a good opportunity for the company to "put across the views that we needed to put across".

However, he would not comment further nor outline what was aired during the meeting.

Mr Madden also welcomed the cancellation of the strikes, saying it was good news for passengers.

He added that Transdev expected to hear from the Labour Court with its findings as early as next week.

Meanwhile, Siptu's divisional organiser Owen Reidy said drivers wanted to bring the dispute to an end.

Mr Reidy said the talks at the Labour Court were a "useful few hours" of bilateral discussions but added that there was no direct engagement with Transdev.

He also warned that further Luas strike actions were still scheduled to go ahead over the coming weeks.

Strikes

Mr Reidy said that strikes "are still in the pipeline" but that the union would "like to think we could resolve this".

The deadlock over pay has seen 12 days of strikes, resulting in major traffic disruption throughout the capital.

Separately yesterday, official figures showed that 5,115 working days were lost as a result of industrial disputes in the first three months of this year.

Figures released by the Central Statistics Office showed that there were four disputes under way during this period, involving 4,828 workers.

Irish Independent

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