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All-Ireland rail strikes 'a slap in face for fans'

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PROTEST: Rail services will be hit

PROTEST: Rail services will be hit

PROTEST: Rail services will be hit

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has described a threat by rail workers to strike on All-Ireland weekends as a "slap in the face" for sports fans.

Earlier this month the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) announced four days of strikes in protest at Irish Rail management's decision to implement cost-cutting measures including payroll savings of €16.9m.

The protest will begin with a 48-hour work stoppage later this month followed by 24-hour stoppages on September 7 and 21 - the dates of the All-Ireland hurling and football finals.

Announcing the industrial action earlier this month, NBRU general secretary Dermot O'Leary said his members had rejected proposals to cut pay, adding: "We have been consistently telling the company and the Government that our members will not subsidise their own jobs."

Mr Donohoe said the threatened strike action would be "hugely damaging".

"Let's be clear on this. This is a strike that should not go ahead. These measures have to be implemented," he said.

"I think it would be a huge slap in the face to people who depend on rail services to get to two of the iconic sporting events in Ireland."

viability

On the Irish Rail cost-cutting at the heart of the dispute, Mr Donohoe said: "These measures are absolutely vital to the maintenance of services the company provides and the viability of Irish Rail into the future."

He called on the workers to back down from the threat to withdraw their labour.

"I recognise the interests of the workers, but I am driven by what is the right thing for the ordinary taxpayer, what is best for the common good," Mr Donohoe said.

andrew lynch: p14


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