Saturday 16 December 2017

Luas strike to hit St Patrick's Day festival crowds

Luas trams at the Red Cow depot. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Luas trams at the Red Cow depot. Photo: Gareth Chaney

Anne-Marie Walsh

Thousands of St Patrick’s Day revellers face a disruptive Luas strike after workers backed another two stoppages next month.

SIPTU has served notice of 24-hour strikes on Tuesday March 8 and Thursday March 17 in the dispute over pay rises and better working conditions.

A second 48-hour work stoppage on Thursday and Friday this week is set to go ahead.

SIPTU has insisted that staff will not suspend industrial action even if it enters talks.

Up to 90,000 passengers suffered severe disruption last week after the first strike on the red and green lines in the history of the Luas service.

And SIPTU has warned that the strikes will escalate unless a deal is reached with tram operator Transdev on a “significant” pay rise.

It has rejected the company’s offer of wage increases of between 1pc and 3pc.

Sources indicated it was likely to demand at least 5pc to move towards agreement.

Workers want pay rises between 8.5pc and 53.8pc. Other demands include a 10pc bonus and double time for overtime.

“The likelihood is that more days of strikes will be announced unless this is

resolved,” said SIPTU official Willie Noone.

He said there was no sign of the Workplace Relations Commission intervening to  attempt to resolve the row as both sides were so far apart.


Transdev said St Patrick’s Day was one of the busiest days of the year for the Luas and it brought “a whole new audience to Dublin”.

Its managing director said “sensible voices need to be heard”. He dismissed the pay claims as “extreme”.

“I am shocked and disappointed to learn that Luas employees plan on stopping the service not just this week, but on Tuesday March 8 and St Patrick’s Day, all in pursuance of their pay claims,” said Gerry Madden.

He warned that not only were SIPTU’s “unjustified” claims threatening the company and Luas customers, its actions would have serious adverse effects on businesses and tourism.

He said his staff’s action would affect thousands of families who use Luas to travel into and out of the parade, as well as other events in the city associated with the St Patrick’s Day festival.

However, SIPTU argues that staff will be tied into whatever deal is negotiated for five years and so it wants an offer that goes some way towards meeting pay rise demands of between 8pc and 54pc.

Irish Independent

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