Thursday 22 February 2018

Strike is 'extremely likely' at Irish Rail in the coming weeks, union says

Up to 155,000 rail passengers a day would be affected if a strike goes ahead. Stock picture
Up to 155,000 rail passengers a day would be affected if a strike goes ahead. Stock picture

Ryan Nugent

A STRIKE is "extremely likely" at Irish Rail in the coming weeks according to the NBRU with SIPTU insisting that the industrial action is unavoidable unless there is a movement in crunch pay talks today.

It is understood that workers are looking for a pay rise in the region of 3.75pc with the final day of talks today at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) chief, Dermot O'Leary made reference to recent pay increases for Luas and Dublin Bus workers and that a pay rise at Irish Rail was "long overdue".

Asked on the the threat of industrial action, Mr O'Leary said: "Unless the staff get a credible offer today, they're telling me they want to see a ballot paper and they want to see it soon."

He said: "It's extremely likely at this stage and I would  contend that unless something dramatically changes here...then we are heading for the picket lines in the next number of weeks," he added.

Division Organiser for SIPTU, Greg Ennis said industrial action is unavoidable unless there is a movement on pay today.

"What is of particular concern to our members is that the approach being taken by Irish Rail management in the current protracted talks process would seem to be a mirror image of that adopted by Bus Éireann management earlier this year," Mr Ennis said.

"That intransigence ultimately led to our members being forced to undertake a three week strike which paralysed public bus services throughout the country.

 “SIPTU members do not wish to see a similar shut down of the rail network which would include DART services.

"However, our almost 2,000 members in Irish Rail will use all the leverage at their disposal in their pursuit of a legitimate pay claim which follows almost ten-years of a pay freeze.

 "Irish Rail workers will no longer continue to subsidise the service by what in real terms amounts to ongoing decreases in pay," he added.

Director of HR at Irish Rail, Ciaran Masterson said:

"I do believe that the discussions that take place today will give them (unions) a credible  option for them to consider what's the best course of action they should take."

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