Friday 19 January 2018

More travel chaos looms - Train drivers vote in favour of industrial action

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

Widespread transport chaos looms as train drivers at Irish Rail have voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking industrial action.

The two unions representing staff at the semi-state company have confirmed that their members returned a ballot in favour of taking a measure of industrial action in two separate polls.

Siptu said that 92pc of their members voted in favour of taking industrial action while the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) said 95pc of their members voted in favour of action.

These ballots stem from a dispute between drivers at the company and management over “past productivity” and recent discussions in the Labour Relations Commission broke down.

“The result of this ballot, which saw 92pc of drivers vote in favour of industrial action, indicates the level of frustration felt at the company’s refusal to honour an agreement it entered into in September 2014,” Siptu organiser Paul Cullen said.

“Our members still hope that management will step back from the brink and honour the terms of this agreement to negotiate on past productivity produced by drivers. Failure to do so will inevitably lead to the disruption of services provided by Irish Rail.”

The NBRU has said their members delivered the mandate “in response to Irish Rail’s failure to recognise their contribution over the last number of years”.

"Our members have voted by a margin of  95pc to engage in Industrial Action at the company's refusal to honour the Labour Relations Commission agreement of the 3 September 2014 which provided for discussions on the contributions which train drivers have delivered over the last number of years,” Dermot O’Leary, NBRU General Secretary said.

"The LRC agreement is quite clear with regard to discussing past productivity, we have never encountered a situation where the company have simply said they are not going to honour our agreement and are unwilling to engage.”

The two unions will meet on Thursday to discuss their plans for industrial action, which could possibly include a strike.

It is understood that commuters will be hit on the Friday of the October Bank Holiday weekend.

Senior sources have indicated that short-term stoppages are on the agenda, and said workers will initially down tools for between two to three hours during the busy morning period on October 23.

The Dart and Commuter services will be affected on the first day.  But if the row escalates, other services are likely to be affected on a second day of action.

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