Friday 20 April 2018

Luas strike: Drivers to carry out two 48-hour stoppages

A Luas travels across O’Connell Street yesterday
A Luas travels across O’Connell Street yesterday

Anne-Marie Walsh, Industry Correspondent

LUAS drivers are to stage two 48 hour strikes next month.

Dubliners face travel chaos when workers down tools on February 11 and 12, and a week later on February 18 and 19 – both Thursdays and Fridays.

Siptu trade union confirmed three of four groups of workers, who balloted overwhelmingly to take industrial action, said their preference was to strike for 48 hours at meetings this week.

It will be the first strike for the Dublin tram operator.

A majority of the 180 drivers, 37 revenue protection officers, and eight revenue protection supervisors backed the 48-hour option.

The fourth and final group of staff - 16 control room officers – will work to rule.

The meetings come as their employer Transdev released figures showing drivers are seeking a massive pay rise of almost 54pc.

It said tram drivers on €42,247 a year are seeking a 53.8pc increase to €64,993 – substantially more than an Irish Rail driver.

This is far above the average pay claims of between two and three percent on average, which were lodged by unions with employers last year.

However, SIPTU says the amounts being sought would be spread over five years, although a 54pc increase would still represent an annual rise of over 10pc.

The strike is set to cause major chaos for the travelling public and government just ahead of the general election.

Transdev said:

* Revenue Protection officer (ticket inspector) on a current salary of €36,434 is seeking an increase to €43,720, or 20pc, by 2017.

* A revenue protection supervisor (ticket inspector supervisor) on a current salary of €39,541 is seeking an increase to €50,771.33 (28pc) by 2017.

*Traffic supervisors on a current salary of €47,941 are seeking an increase to €57,941 by 2017.

Transdev said the pay claims being pursued by SIPTU are between 8.5pc and 53.8pc and would cost it €30m over its five year contract, or €6m a year.

It said it lost €700,000 last year and is predicting further losses this year.

“It is disappointing for us to learn that union employees plan on stopping the Luas service in pursuance of their pay claims,” said Transdev Managing Director, Gerry Madden.

“We believe the pay and terms and conditions of Luas employees are, and always have been, very favourable.”

It said the Labour Court recommended that they hold “meaningful” talks at the Workplace Relations Commission, and this was the only way the row could be resolved.

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