Monday 19 February 2018

Luas chiefs accused of 'scab labour' and 'strike-breaking'

Luas at Connolly Station. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Luas at Connolly Station. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Anne-Marie Walsh

Union bosses have hit back at the Luas operator for planning a special St Patrick's day bus service to beat the strike action, describing it as 'scab labour'.

Luas drivers are still set to go on strike on March 17 despite their employers' bid to broker a deal with three grades of staff.

However, a move by Luas operator Transdev to hire buses to enable passengers to travel on St Patrick's Day, the day of the first strike, was described as provocative by Siptu.

Divisional organiser Owen Reidy said it was also regrettable Transdev wouldn't talk to drivers.

"As long as they continue that, industrial action will continue," he added.

The National Bus & Rail Union later said it will support Luas workers "in opposing the use of scab labour" to break a legitimate strike.

General Secretary Dermot O'Leary last night wrote to Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe questioning the actions of the Luas operator Transdev, which it accused of engaging in strike breaking.

"This firm is paid multiples of millions of taxpayers euros to provide a light rail service for the citizens of the state, it surely falls within the Ministers remit as the custodian of taxpayers monies to challenge the company's motives," he said.

Transdev - which rejected claims it is engaging in strike breaking - entered talks with ticket inspectors, their supervisors and control room staff at the Workplace Relations Commission yesterday in a bid to end the disruptive dispute.

They talks, which have been adjourned until Monday, involve 16 control room staff, 37 ticket inspectors and their eight supervisors. But Transdev says the 172 drivers' new pay demand of 27pc over five years, or between 5pc and 6pc a year plus a 10pc bonus, is still too high.

It has said it will consider wage increases in the region of 1pc to 3pc a year.

Further Luas strikes are planned over the Easter weekend, and on April 3, 4, 23 and 24. Siptu drivers will also considering balloting for an all-out strike next week.

Transdev's special bus services on St Patrick's Day will run from Luas park-and-ride stops to and from the city centre from 7.30am to 7pm, every 10 minutes. It said passengers, particularly families, should allow extra time to travel to and from the parade.

Luas pre-paid tickets (seven-day, 30-day, monthly and annual) and Leap cards, including Family Leap cards, will be accepted on the buses.

Bus tickets can also be purchased at Luas park-and-ride stops and city centre Luas or bus stops.

Irish Independent

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