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Sunday 22 September 2019

Talks aimed at averting commuter chaos tomorrow making 'extremely slow progress'

Trains (stock photo)
Trains (stock photo)

Emma Jane Hade

Commuters are being encouraged to make alternative travel plans for the morning as talks aimed at resolving the industrial dispute with Irish Rail are making "extremely slow progress".

Irish Rail staff are preparing to down tools between 6am and 9am across services all around the country tomorrow morning.

Eleventh hour talks are tonight ongoing between Irish Rail senior management and the two unions involved, Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU).

If the morning's strike goes ahead, it will be the second day of strike action to hit commuters in two weeks.

It is believed that as many as 60,000 commuters will be forced to make alternative arrangements, as up to 159 services are likely to be cancelled or delayed.

This comes after the workers last rush hour stoppage on October 24, which affected 40,000 users on the eve of the Bank Holiday weekend. But the number of people affected tomorrow is likely to rise, as schools are back in term.

“Progress is extremely slow and the fundamentals remain as they were," a source close to the talks said earlier this evening.

Irish Rail chief executive David Franks last week wrote to staff warning that their demands have become “unaffordable”.

The company believes their proposals will see workers earnings increase for some workers by up to 7.9pc.

The two unions involved want the working week to be reduced to bring it in line with their counterparts in other jurisdictions like Northern Ireland and the UK.

Irish Rail are continuing to advise customers to make alternate arrangements until tonight's talks conclude and they know more.

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