Sunday 21 January 2018

Transport chaos looms as Luas staff 'likely' to snub pay deal

A child makes their way to school along the Luas tracks at Beechwood following the strike. Photo: Steve Humphreys
A child makes their way to school along the Luas tracks at Beechwood following the strike. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Anne-Marie Walsh and Deirdre Reynolds

Luas passengers will find out today if services will grind to a halt during the Easter Rising centenary, as a ballot of staff on pay rises of up to €7,753 is revealed.

But union sources last night indicated that the deal was likely to be rejected. The result o f the crucial vote by 250 workers on pay rises up to 18pc over less than three years will be announced this evening.

A dispute over pay rises and working conditions for four grades of staff has already halted services for four days.

Siptu has recommended the deal to its members as the best that could be achieved in talks at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

But sources said a new lower entry level for drivers was a sticking point, while others felt the pay increase was not enough.

The union has served notice of a strike on Easter Sunday and Monday as well as another four days next month.

Drivers are likely to ballot for all-out strike action if the proposals are rejected.

Luas operator Transdev has refused to say what contingency plans it will put in place if the deal is rejected and industrial action escalates.

If it is accepted, the tram service will be ramped-up to accommodate thousands of visitors who will throng Dublin over the Easter weekend. Transdev managing director Gerry Madden warned that the pay deal, which offers pay rises twice the norm in other sectors, would not be renegotiated.

The company said a long-term service increment was built into the offer, designed to give those who reached the maximum scale a "further uplift".

It said a driver on the top of the scale, at €42,247, at the moment would reach €50,000 by January 2019, a hike of €7,753. They will also get the existing 6.5pc bonus on top of that, bringing their salary to €53,250.

The National Bus and Railworkers Union has already lodged claims with Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus and Irish Rail for similar increases. Talks are due to convene at the WRC on the Dublin Bus pay claim, following a Labour Court hearing yesterday.

Meanwhile, 999 call operators will stage a second 12-hour strike in Navan on April 7 but their employer, Conduit Global, said it would not have an impact on the emergency service.

Union members at all three call centres in Ballyshannon, Dublin and Navan will also conduct a work-to-rule from April 8 to May 8.

However, a dispute over the outsourcing of 17 jobs that led to strikes at Cadbury's plant in Coolock, Dublin, is over after a union backed proposals agreed at the WRC to achieve cost savings in other ways.

Irish Independent

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