Saturday 21 April 2018

Talks at preventing strike action at Irish Rail 'slow and tedious'

Discussions will resume in the morning
Discussions will resume in the morning
Emma Jane Hade

Emma Jane Hade

Talks aimed at preventing strike action at Irish Rail are “slow and tedious” as they enter their third day.

The marathon discussion between Irish Rail management and the unions representing drivers- the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and Siptu- started on Monday.

The discussions are aimed at preventing a three hour work stoppage next Friday morning, during 6am and 9am on the busy Bank Holiday weekend.

Workers voted in favour of taking industrial action over what they claim are “past productivity” issues.

They entered talks in September in the Workplace Relations Commission, but these collapse.

The NBRU said the talks broke down as the “company was not will to engage on the past productivity element from a 2014 Labour Relations Commission (LRC) agreement.

A senior union source said this afternoon that the discussions, which are being chaired by Anna Perry, are “very slow and tedious”.

A spokesperson for Irish Rail said “there is no provision in the 2014 LRC agreement to address what trade unions describe as ‘past productivity’”.

“The company has consistently stated that it would engage with drivers and all employees on productivity measures which generated a verifiable cost saving, and would share that benefit between the company and employees.”

They previously warned:  “In a situation where the company continues to lose over €1m a month, we must ensure that we identify verifiable cost savings through defined productivity measures if we are to be in a position to increase pay.

"Any other course of action would renew the threat to the future viability of Irish Rail, job security for all employees, and the services we provide to our customers.”

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