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Saturday 21 April 2018

Rail drivers reject deal as industrial action looms again

NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary said the ball is in management’s court, to determine why the recommendation was rejected. Photo: Tom Burke
NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary said the ball is in management’s court, to determine why the recommendation was rejected. Photo: Tom Burke
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

The threat of industrial action looms again at Irish Rail as drivers overwhelmingly rejected a Labour Court recommendation that would have given them a 1.15pc pay increase.

In exchange the drivers were expected to give concessions on productivity.

Drivers belonging to the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and Siptu voted 93pc and 83pc respectively to reject the recommendation.

While the drivers have not balloted for industrial action, Siptu organiser Paul Cullen said both unions were not ruling it out in the future.

"If the company forces this issue, there is the likelihood of industrial action," he told the Irish Independent yesterday.

NBRU general secretary Dermot O'Leary said the ball was in management's court to determine why the recommendation was rejected.

There are a number of issues at the centre of the dispute including the training of new drivers and a €500 voucher given to staff before Christmas which was part of a Labour Court settlement to end strike action by drivers in November.

Mr O'Leary said train drivers were unhappy the Labour Court offered them a €500 voucher for Dunnes Stores as a goodwill gesture and that they had to apply for it.

He said they were not opposed to Dunnes Stores per se, although they are normally given a One For All voucher that they can spend anywhere they like.

He said drivers felt the company's suggestion to the Labour Court to give drivers vouchers from Dunnes Stores was effectively a slap in the face.

"It's symptomatic of the attitude of senior management. It's not about the voucher itself," he told the Irish Independent last night. "Every time a driver tries to improve their lot they are hit with a brick wall and that brick wall is (Irish Rail CEO) David Franks."

Irish Rail said it regretted the drivers' decision to reject the Labour Court recommendation on driver training.

Irish Independent

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