Sunday 22 July 2018

Prospect of all-out Luas strike drawing closer after union letter expresses 'outrage' at company threats

Luas. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Luas. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

SIPTU has warned Luas operator Transdev that it will “not be found wanting” in defending its members if it carries out its threat to impose layoffs or cut wages.

The prospect of an all-out strike is drawing closer after the union wrote to the tram company’s boss, Gerry Madden, today expressing “outrage” at the tone and content of his letter warning of the consequences if staff continue to  mount strikes.

The union is meeting its members again today to discuss their next course of action following the company’s threats.

An all-out strike, which could take place in five weeks, is one of the options being considered in the long-running dispute over pay rises and working conditions.

“We must advise that should Transdev proceed to take any action, as threatened in your (letter), against any of our members engaged in this lawful dispute, this union and our members will not be found wanting in taking the necessary steps to defend our members and their dispute,” says the letter.

It also says that members will not accept pay cuts if the company’s tries to recoup its losses due to industrial action.

The letter warns that Siptu considers any proposed cuts to be unlawful under the Payment of Wage Act. “Any attempt to breach this act will be met with the appropriate response, from this union, which we hope will not be necessary,” it says.

Siptu also says it does not accept that its members can be employed on a day-to-day basis or that a situation exists that means lay-offs or short time working are necessitated.

“We therefore dispute your right, if any, to give notice of same,” it says.

The letter warns Mr Madden he does not have the right to give notice of lay-off or short-time working without the agreement of the union.

Siptu denies his claim that members were not carrying out “significant duties” that are an integral part of their contracts.

 “We note you have been extremely careful not to state what these duties are and we can only draw the appropriate conclusion for the reason for your failure to do so,” it says.

“It is regrettable, but not surprising, that you saw fit to issue this letter and as always Siptu and our representatives remain available to have negotiations and to resume the normal industrial relations process,” it says.

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