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Sunday 18 February 2018

Train drivers to vote on industrial action, which will include stoppages on Dart and train services

The DART on Killiney Bay.
The DART on Killiney Bay.
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Train drivers will vote in a ballot from next Monday on whether to take industrial action, which will include stoppages on Dart and Commuter Services and national rail services.

Talks at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) between Irish Rail management and train drivers broke down last Tuesday, and Loco Driver representatives met today to consider their response. 

General Secretary Dermot O’Leary said anger among train drivers had been exacerbated by the response of the company following last week’s debacle at the LRC.

"The CEO in a communique to all staff attempted to lay the blame for the breakdown of talks with the drivers themselves on the basis that they had rejected an offer to talk about future productivity, when quite clearly the agreement of last September contains a clause which states that the issue of past productivity should be addressed through normal industrial relations procedures."

"Shutting down debate or refusing to engage in an LRC conciliation is not how normal industrial relations are practiced,” he said. 

He added: “All Irish Rail workers want is to be in a position to discuss and negotiate the changes that have been made to their grade over the last number of years, attempting to apply Thacherite style solutions to industrial relations issues in this jurisdiction, where legislation bestows equal status to both company and workers, will only serve to strengthen the resolve of our members to have their concerns addressed, the unfortunate reality here is that both staff and customers will suffer as a result of this type of autocratic decision making.”

Iarnród Éireann described the news of the ballot for industrial action as "very disappointing".

"At that time agreement was unable to be reached on increasing pay to drivers for a range of historic issues some of which date back 15 years. We offered to refer the matter to the Labour Court for recommendation but this was declined despite agreed procedures with the Trade Unions to deal with dispute resolution in this way," Iarnród Éireann said in a statement.

"In a situation where the company continues to lose over €1 million 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 Iarnród Éireann, job security for all employees, and the services we provide to our customers."

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