Tuesday 21 January 2020

Luas may face complete shutdown in five weeks, warns union

Luas operator Transdev loses €100,000 for each strike day
Luas operator Transdev loses €100,000 for each strike day

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

THE Luas may face a complete shutdown in five weeks, a senior union official has warned.

Siptu Divisional Organiser Owen Reidy said a ballot for an all-out strike is under “serious consideration”.

He said a decision to ballot for indefinite strikes will be decided after Transdev sends a letter to staff today threatening them with lay-offs if they continue their industrial action.

Mr Reidy said the earliest an all-out strike can take place is in five weeks, to give time for a ballot and to serve 21 days notice under a collective agreement with the company.

The letter from Transdev to the company’s over 250 staff, to be sent this afternoon, is expected to warn them that they may be put on protective notice, which could mean lay-offs or short term working.

It is also expected to them that they are in breach of their own contract by taking industrial action. However, Mr Reidy said if the union was doing anything illegal the company would have sought to injunct it by now.

“This is a red herring,” he said. “We have given 21 days notice, and done everything in compliance with the law in relation to balloting, notice and picketing.”

The letter will also say the company may recoup its losses due to industrial action from the workforce’s pay, including compensation for a work-to-rule.

It will also outline a pay proposal that would give a 10pc  wage increase to all members of staff, rather than wage increases ranging from 10pc to 18.2pc that were offered to them under a previous Workplace Relations Commission package. Staff rejected this proposal.

Mr Reidy said within the next 24 to 48 hours, union representatives will be talking informally to members and may hold a general meeting to decide whether to seek a mandate for an all-out strike.

“An all-out strike is under serious consideration,” he said. “We are waiting to see the letter, but we have been told what we can expect. When the lads rejected ‘x’ (the Workplace Relations Commission proposal), they are hardly going to say they will take ‘x less y’.”

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