Thursday 18 October 2018

Rail chaos looms as talks aimed at averting Bank Holiday strike break down

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Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Talks between Iarnród Éireann and trade unions at the Workplace Relations Commission concluded last night without agreement.

The talks were aimed at averting strike action at the rail company over the October Bank Holiday weekend. A ballot on strike action has already been taken and the results of that ballot are due today.

The dispute centres on pay, with Irish Rail workers seeking the same pay rise as Luas and Dublin Bus workers.

In a statement Iarnród Éireann said:

"Iarnród Éireann moved its position to offering a 1.75pc increase for one year, to be facilitated by measures including performance management, absenteeism management, revisions to redeployment policy and payroll.  It committed to discussing more substantive productivity issues to fund further improvements in earnings beyond the one year agreement in a defined period.

"Unfortunately, this was not accepted by trade unions.  As these talks follows a referral by the Labour Court, it should be remembered that this referral stated that should the parties not reach agreement, any outstanding issues should be referred back to the Labour Court."

The company urged unions to refer the issues to the Labour Court rather than pursuing strike action.

"Any threatened industrial action will only further worsen our financial position, weakening our ability to improve employees’ earnings, and most importantly will cause uncertainty and disruption to our customers’ travel plans," the company said in a statement.

In a joint statement the unions involved said:

"We have spent the last twelve hours engaging in what we understood to be last ditch efforts to produce a proposal on pay which could be presented to our members, and in so doing stave off what we consider to be unnecessary industrial action.

"Such action will discommode tens of thousands of commuters over the coming weeks, in the run-up to Christmas and beyond."

The unions will now proceed to count their respective ballots the statement added.

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