Sunday 17 December 2017

Talks aimed at averting upcoming Irish Rail strike adjourned

Discussions will resume in the morning
Discussions will resume in the morning
Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

Talks in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) aimed at averting the upcoming rail strike have been adjourned for the evening.

Discussions between Irish Rail management and the unions representing train drivers- the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and Siptu- will resume in the morning.

The talks, which are being chaired by Anna Perry, are being held in an attempt to avert a work stoppage planned for the Friday morning of the October Bank Holiday weekend.

The two unions announced that their members had balloted in favour of industrial action last week, after talks about past productivity issues collapsed in the WRC last month.

The NBRU claimed the talks broke down in September as "the company was not willing to engage on the past productivity element" from a 2014 Labour Relations Commission agreement.

Siptu also accused Irish Rail of "reneging on a commitment to reward past productivity increases".

Read more: Rail passengers face bank holiday disruption

They then announced their intention to stop working for two to three hours on October 23, during morning rush hour services

The two unions and the company agreed to enter into talks in the WRC, and the commission has requested the parties return tomorrow morning “to discuss the agendas further”.

“Basically what we have done was we both outlined our current positions in regard to the mandate given to us by locomotive drivers. 

“The company outlined it’s position in respect of future productivity. We listened to what they had to say and they listened to our agenda,” Siptu's Paul Cullen said.

“We are hopeful that something will come of it.  There’s a little bit of movement there- not a whole lot.  But certainly a little bit of movement in respect of the issue of past productivity.  Our agenda hasn’t been thrown. 

“It’s still on the table so we will get to discuss that now.”

A spokesperson for Irish Rail described the talks today as being a “positive engagement”.

“We hope this process can address productivity issues in order to identify verifiable savings to the benefit of the company and employees alike, and ensure disruption to customers can be avoided,” he added.

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