Sunday 18 February 2018

Rail strike still on for All-Ireland despite talks with LRC

Irish rail CEO David Franks
Irish rail CEO David Franks
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Next weekend's second-wave strike by 2,100 rail workers is still on - despite a new intervention by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC).

Debt-laden Irish Rail is refusing to budge on pay cuts as union sources described the differences between the two parties as "seismic".

Exploratory talks, led by the LRC's Kevin Foley, lasted for four hours yesterday and will reconvene tomorrow.

Irish Rail and unions made separate presentations in what SIPTU described as a "fact-finding mission". The company said the talks were constructive.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe is now coming under pressure to intervene in the dispute, with both sides insisting that no deal can be brokered without a move by government.

Mr Donohoe, who has so far refused to intervene in the dispute, is today expected to be briefed by the LRC.

Senior SIPTU negotiator Owen Reidy indicated last night that the Government's subvention to Irish Rail needs to be urgently examined if a truce is called.

"The issue of subvention is a fundamental issue here and has to be part of any solution," Mr Reidy told the Sunday Independent.

The National Bus and Railworkers' Union (NBRU) said that its position on next weekend's strike had not changed.

"We have not been asked to do anything that would undermine our current position," said NBRU General Secretary Dermot O'Leary.

The nationwide strike scheduled for Sunday and Monday will bring the entire rail network to a halt.

The strike will hit many fans attending the All-Ireland hurling final between Tipperary and Kilkenny on Sunday, as well as commuters and schoolgoers on Monday.

Sports Minister Michael Ring appealed for all parties to consider the impact the strike will have on ordinary GAA fans.

A further strike is planned for September 21, when the All-Ireland football decider takes place.

Sunday Independent

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