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Monday 23 September 2019

Unions to attend Labour Court talks over Irish Rail dispute

Greg Ennis, SIPTU, Dermot O'Leary, NBRU and Manuel Cortez, TSSA,pictured at Heuston Station
Greg Ennis, SIPTU, Dermot O'Leary, NBRU and Manuel Cortez, TSSA,pictured at Heuston Station Newsdesk Newsdesk

The National Bus and Rail Union, SIPTU and Unite will all attend the Labour Court tomorrow for talks about the Irish Rail dispute.

It is expected that the Labour Court will ask for the impending strikes in November and December to be called off.

However, the NBRU has cautioned that as far as it is concerned, the strikes are still going ahead.

Yesterday was the second 24-hour stoppage in the space of a week - with further strikes expected on November 14, November 23 and December 8.

NBRU General Secretary, Dermot O'Leary said in a statement: "Whilst accepting that the Labour Courts invitation is a potential step forward in attempting to resolve this debilitating and unnecessary dispute, it should be borne in mind that the intransigence displayed by Irish Rail management, led it should be said by the CEO, together with tacit support from the Department of Transport, will make an overall resolution to this dispute more difficult than it might otherwise have been, had the company (over recent weeks), acted in an appropriate manner, with both its own staff and the State’s third party industrial relations institutions.

"The extraordinary statement by the Taoiseach in the Dáil yesterday, where he singled out the State-owned Córas Iompair Éireann Group of companies by suggesting it is 'always necessary' to have a few days of strikes, (when other transport links do not result in that), neglecting to mention that our colleagues in the privately operated Luas were involved in 12 days of strikes in their pay dispute, clearly demonstrated a Blueshirt bias at the heart of Government against the State-owned public transport providers.

"The awarding of State contracts, (by the NTA), which contain little or no provision for pay rises is a matter that will require to be urgently addressed.

"The alternative is that the spectre of public transport disputes, creating economic hardship in their wake, will hang over the country in the months and years ahead."

SIPTU representatives will also be in attendance at the Labour Court hearing on Thursday morning.

Transport Division Organiser, Greg Ennis said they are attending the hearing with a view to achieving an acceptable resolution of the pay dispute.

Meanwhile, Iarnród Éireann has welcomed the invitation to the hearing tomorrow concerning the dispute over pay.

Irish Rail workers want a 3.75pc a year pay rise over three years, to match wage hikes recently given to Luas and Dublin Bus workers.

Talks had been ongoing between unions and company management at the Workplace Relations Commission earlier this month, but they failed to reach an agreement.

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