Talks start over Irish Rail staff dispute
Talks aimed at resolving the dispute between Irish Rail and the country's train drivers are due to begin today at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC).
Both the National Bus and Railworkers' Union (NBRU) and Siptu have warned that industrial action is on the cards unless progress is made in the area of pay and conditions.
Train drivers are adamant that they are prepared to strike and have warned that they will target early-morning services in a move that would cause maximum disruption.
Workers claim they have been crippled by a recent wave of pay cuts, while at the same time facing demands for increased productivity.
There is also a deep sense of concern about staff safety following a significant increase in violent and drunken incidents on board trains and in stations.
Both trade unions have warned that staff morale is extremely low and that drivers are now prepared to embark on a second wave of industrial action.
Apart from the dispute over pay and conditions, concern remains over the findings of a recent draft safety audit - which found that near misses which could have resulted in death or injury are going unreported because staff are fearful of being reprimanded.