Wednesday 25 April 2018

Irish Rail sheds 160 staff with packages worth up to €130,000

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

MORE than 160 staff will leave Irish Rail with packages worth up to €130,000 each under a voluntary redundancy scheme to slash its €45m deficit.

The state company confirmed that 160 employees have opted to leave, while another 230 workers expressed an interest in departing.

Irish Rail has provided the undecided staff with estimates of the lump sums they will get if they leave and has asked for a response soon.

The employees, who include administrative workers, drivers, line inspectors and station staff, are due to depart before the end of the year.

A spokesperson for Irish Rail said it was pleased with the "strong response" to the redundancy plan, which aims to reduce the workforce by over 10pc.

The company plans to shed a total of 450 staff within four years. It has also begun rolling out a range of cuts to the workforce's overtime, annual leave and expenses.

Details of the severance deal, seen by the Irish Independent, show the total payment made to each member of staff is capped at €130,000.

Workers who leave under the scheme get an ex-gratia payment, which rises with their years of service, and a termination bonus of €30,000 on top of their statutory redundancy payment.

The ex-gratia payment ranges from a third of annual pay for someone with up to five years' service to two years' pay for an employee who has worked at the company for over 30 years.

The voluntary redundancy scheme is the centrepiece of plans to slash the €45m deficit, although the company is unable to estimate yet how much it will save from the measure at this stage.

Overtime

In addition, the workforce of over 4,000 has also agreed to cuts to its terms and conditions of employment, which include cuts to overtime, expenses and holidays, which will yield savings of just under €12m.

The plan was agreed at the Labour Relations Commission before being accepted by staff in a ballot.

A Labour Relations Commission document on the deal said management and unions felt the plan would help avoid emergency measures such as pay cuts or further job losses.

The measures include:

• A 20pc cut in subsistence allowances to save €1.2m a year.

• A reduction in sick leave without a medical cert, to save €5m a year.

• Overtime cuts to save €2.1m a year.

• A 25pc cut in annual leave carried over since last year to save €3.8m.

The other CIE subsidiaries, Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann, also aim to reach agreement with staff on similar cuts to their terms and conditions by August 13.

However, the bus operators are not planning voluntary redundancies, which were part of previous cost-cutting schemes at the companies.

Irish Independent

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