Sunday 18 March 2018

Strike fears at Irish Rail as union vows it will fight to 'bitter end' over 21pc pay claim

Dart users are facing travel disruptions. Photo: Frank McGrath
Dart users are facing travel disruptions. Photo: Frank McGrath

Anne-Marie Walsh

Commuters face the threat of more strike chaos after a union vowed to fight to the "bitter end" for a pay rise at Irish Rail.

The National Bus and Railworkers' Union (NBRU) accused the company over its attitude to staff, after unions lodged a 21pc pay rise claim - the same as sought at Dublin Bus.

Sources indicated that it may be likely to settle closer to 11.25pc over thee years - which still amounts to 3.75pc a year - the pay hike that was won by staff at the bus company and Luas last year.

It is understood unions and management will meet at the Workplace Relations Commission next month.

In a message recently sent to members, the NBRU said it was faced with a management that seemed "hellbent on forcing almost every industrial relations matter to the wire, sometimes beyond".

"It now appears to be a 'crime' to want to improve one's terms and conditions, an affront to have the temerity to actually say: 'Do you know what? I've had enough of being asked to put my shoulder to the wheel, I've paid my dues, I've co-operated with quite a lot, I am entitled to have a debate around pay improvement'," it said.

"The NBRU will of course vigorously pursue this pay rise for all Irish Rail staff."

It said it would also seek to improve the conditions of Dart drivers to match their colleagues in the UK and Northern Ireland.

It said a farcical situation had emerged where the company was stymying its staff's request to address the issue of pay. It accused the company of ignoring the fact that it was nine years since the last pay rise.

It said the company had become a parody of 'Oliver Twist' by going to the department and asking for more and celebrating when it got extra funding.

"How in the name of God can you call it extra funding when a report commissioned by the very body you are seeking funding from actually says the bloody place is already severely underfunded?"

The message also warned that there were forces "whose sole interest appears to be the demise of Bus Éireann".

"We in the NBRU will not risk choking on verbal diarrhoea by extending any such good wishes to those whose sole interest appears to be the demise of Bus Éireann," it said.

A spokesperson for Irish Rail said; "Iarnrod Eireann restored gross pay as per our agreement in October last.

"We are now engaged with the Workplace Relations Commission on the current pay claim."

Irish Independent

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