Monday 23 October 2017

Luas strikes: Six more days of disruption in June - and 24 hour strike on day Bruce Springsteen hits Croke Park

Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

TRANSDEV has warned that the announcement of six more strikes at the Luas next month is “not acceptable and will not be countenanced”.

The company, which has warned drivers they may be struck off the payroll, said it will “now actively review its options in consultation with our legal advisors”.

It said it will “revert to employees and their representatives in the coming days with a considered response”.

The company said next month's four hour stoppages will effectively last for six and a half hours because of the need to put trams in and out of service. It also noted that the strike on June 8 that starts at 9am coincides with the start of the Leaving Cert.

Crossing the line: Commuters heading to town along the Luas tracks at Ranelagh following a recent strike. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Crossing the line: Commuters heading to town along the Luas tracks at Ranelagh following a recent strike. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The 24-hour stoppage on May 27 also coincides with Bruce Springsteen's Croke Park concert on the Friday evening.

It said the latest series of strike dates are designed to cause maximum disruption to customers, with minimum loss of pay to drivers.

It said not all drivers are rostered on strike days so would not lose pay. Siptu has also clarified that drivers will hold onto their strike pay worth €40 a day.

“Clearly this is very serious and the continued industrial action is putting the company in a challenging financial position and is compromising the security of employment of all our employees,” said Managing Director Gerry Madden.

But he said Transdev is fully committed to a long term future in Ireland and to fulfilling its legal obligations under the terms of the operating contract.

He said the drivers’ position is in stark contrast to their colleagues in three other grades, who have “clearly taken a reasonable view of what level of pay improvement is achievable”.

He said there is no basis for any third party intervention or direct talks with drivers while they maintain their current position.

“Our customers cannot continue to be disrupted in this manner and we will need to review all options available to us at this point with a view to bringing this dispute to an end in the interests of our customers, the taxpayers who have funded LUAS and the balance of our workforce who are becoming seriously concerned for their future,” he added.

The Dates

Today, Siptu has served notice of six strikes to take place in June on tram operator Transdev, while the eleventh strike in the bitter dispute looms this Friday.

There was doubt cast on whether the drivers would opt for four-hour stoppages as sources said they would lose strike pay worth €40 a day.

Next month’s strikes will take place on June 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, and 10. Some of the stoppages will start in the morning and some  in the evening.

Starting times:

June 2, 3pm

June 3,  9am

June 7, 9am

June 8, 9am

June 9, 3pm

June 10, 3pm

As well as this Friday’s strike, another strike is planned the following Friday, May 20.

There will be a four hour work stoppage on Thursday May 26 between 3pm and 7pm and a 24 hour strike on Friday May 27, the day Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are scheduled to play in Croke Park.

Siptu said the escalation of the dispute that began in February is as a direct result of the employer's refusal to engage in constructive talks.

"This dispute could and would have been avoided if Transdev had been willing to engage positively from the outset of negotiations, which commenced almost two years ago," said Siptu official Willie Noone.

He said Transdev walked away from the negotiating table, where progress could have been made, on April 25 and issued threats to dock wages, impose layoffs, put them on short time working and remove them from the payroll.

"As a result of this action by management our members had no option but to take the decision to escalate the dispute further," he said.

“SIPTU is calling on management to withdraw its threats and engage positively with the union and the Luas drivers workplace representatives to resolve the dispute and avoid any further disruption to the service.”

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