Wednesday 7 December 2016

More strikes loom as Luas drivers ease the impact on their pockets

Anne-Marie Walsh

Published 12/05/2016 | 02:30

Siptu has announced further strikes to take place in June which will affect the start of the Leaving Cert exams, as well as a Bruce Springsteen concert (Stock picture)
Siptu has announced further strikes to take place in June which will affect the start of the Leaving Cert exams, as well as a Bruce Springsteen concert (Stock picture)

Luas drivers will lose less than half the pay they would have lost during full-day strikes when they hold six four-hour stoppages next month.

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Siptu has announced further strikes to take place in June which will affect the start of the Leaving Cert exams, as well as a Bruce Springsteen concert.

Another 24-hour strike will take place tomorrow, in the disruptive campaign of industrial action in pursuit of pay rises that began in February.

Transdev has accused the drivers of a deliberate ploy to cause maximum disruption to customers with minimum financial loss to themselves.

As not all drivers are rostered on strike days, they will not lose pay, while those that are rostered during the four-hour stoppages will only lose part of their wages. They will get a strike pay subsidy provided by Siptu of €40.

Siptu accepted that the drivers wanted to ensure the least impact on their pockets and said they had already lost in the region of €3,500 to €4,000 each through the withdrawal of an annual bonus and pay on 10 days of strikes. Transdev is also docking their wages by 10pc for taking part in a work-to-rule.

"If they were to lose the same amount of money during the four-hour stoppages, they might as well go for a full day's strike," said sector organiser Willie Noone. "At least 50pc of drivers are not going to be working during the four-hour time frame but it is going to have less of a national impact because the stoppages are taking place over a shorter period."

However, he accepted the stoppages will be frustrating to passengers, including students, who may not be able to catch a Luas to an exam when the work stoppage begins at 9am, but may get one home.

"This escalation is the nearest thing to an all-out strike," he said. Figures seen by the Irish Independent show no drivers will have lost more than nine days' pay during the 11th strike tomorrow. A total of 19 will have lost nine days' pay, while 35 will have lost eight days' pay, 52 will have lost seven days and 39 will have lost six days, with the remainder losing less than five days. Three drivers will have lost no pay.

Transdev warned that the latest strikes announcement was "not acceptable and will not be countenanced". The company, which has warned drivers they may be struck off the payroll, said it would "now actively review its options in consultation with our legal advisers".

It said it would "revert to employees and their representatives in the coming days with a considered response".

The company said next month's four-hour stoppages would effectively last for six-and-a-half hours because of the need to put trams in and out of service.

"Clearly this is very serious and the continued industrial action is putting the company in a challenging financial position and is compromising the security of employment of all our employees," said managing director Gerry Madden.

He said the drivers' position was in stark contrast to their colleagues in three other grades, who had "clearly taken a reasonable view of what level of pay improvement is achievable".

Ticket inspectors, their supervisors and control room staff have negotiated a deal with Transdev worth 13pc.

Irish Independent

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