Sunday 25 August 2019

Next Irish Rail strike 'still on' pending decision on Labour Court recommendation

Train drivers and rail workers stage a picket outside Heuston Station, Dublin, during the one-day strike
Train drivers and rail workers stage a picket outside Heuston Station, Dublin, during the one-day strike

Alan O'Keeffe

The Labour Court will issue its recommendation on the Irish Rail pay dispute later tomorrow.

The day long talks at the Labour Court ended just before 6pm today.

Union leaders declared next Tuesday's planned one-day strike was "still on", pending their consideration of what the court recommends.

Irish Rail executives said they hoped the proposals will lead to a suspension of the threatened strike.

After two one-day strikes, commuters are hoping the threat of another strike will be lifted. 

Unions were seeking a 3.75pc pay rise without productivity while the company offered 1.75pc for one year, subject to a number of measures.

The court heard the submissions of five unions yesterday and the position of the embattled company.

Dermot O'Leary, general secretary of the National Bus and Railworkers Union, emerged from the court and said the court had taken time to understand the details of the submissions.

"The court will issue a recommendation tomorrow and the trade union group will meet tomorrow to consider that recommendation.... Tuesday's dispute goes ahead as of now and the only thing that can change that is, first of all, the recommendation and secondly, the committee of the five unions making a judgment call or a decision tomorrow," said Mr O'Leary.

The strike committee will make all decisions, he said.

Greg Ennis, division organiser with SIPTU TEAC, said "The court will issue its recommendation tomorrrow evening, the trade union group in Irish Rail will consider that recommendation. As of now, the action goes ahead on Tuesday."

Ciaran Masterson, director of Human Resources for Irish Rail, said "I'd like to thank the court for facilitating us today. We had an opportunity to express the company's ability to meet the aspirations of our staff.

"We outlined our financials of where we are at this point.

"The court advised us they would be in a position to issue a recommendation tomorrow afternoon. So we believe that is a positive reflection and we will have an opportunity to consider the facts of the recommendation and we would hope that the trade unions will be in a position to suspend industrial action on Tuesday," he said.

"We have continuously engaged with our trade unions in a manner where we have engaged in every element of their concern.

"We were very pleased with the court interpretation of our position and we believe we'e made some progress today in clarifying the ability of the organisation to move forward in relation to meeting the aspirations of the staff," he said.

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