Saturday 24 March 2018

LUAS boss Nigel Stevens: 'no money in the pot to grant pay rises of up to 54pc'


Anne-Marie Walsh, Industry Correspondent

LUAS’ boss Nigel Stevens has taken a hardline with unions and warned them there “is no money in the pot” to grant pay rises of up to 54pc.

The UK-based chief executive also told SIPTU that the Minister for Transport or National Transport Authority will not intervene to avert two 48 hour strikes.

The Transdev boss met with staff representatives this week and said the Workplace Relations Commission was the only place the dispute could be resolved.

He was speaking ahead of talks with SIPTU at the commission on Friday.

SIPTU has lodged claims on behalf of over 200 staff, including drivers, revenue protection officers, revenue protection supervisors, and control room staff, for wage increases ranging from 8.5pc to 53.8pc.

Transdev said it is operating at a loss, and the claim would cost €6m a day.

“Mr Stevens took a very stern line that the company wouldn’t be entertaining any sort of substantive pay rise,” said Willie Noone of SIPTU. “He said there was no money in the pot.

“He said he believed the company is paying reasonable wages and is going to maintain that position. He said he also said he had personally spoken to Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe and said they will do everything they can to make sure the action won’t happen.”

The union told Mr Stevens that Mr Donohoe was the minister now, but “may not be in a few weeks time.”

“Ultimately, we said the members would decide if the Workplace Relations Commission can come up with something they can accept,” he said.

He said the union is very anxious to stop the dispute due to potential damage to the reputational image of the Luas and the fact there has been no strike there before.

But he said it has such a big mandate from members for industrial action that it had to act.

The parties are expected to outline their positions when talks commence at the commission on Friday.

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