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Wage cuts 'necessary' as strike costs struggling Irish Rail €1.5m

The two-day rail strike has cost Irish Rail €1.5m in lost revenues, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has claimed.

Mr Donohoe said Irish Rail was already in a very difficult financial position before the lost revenues sustained over Sunday and Monday.

Three further days of strike action are planned by SIPTU and the National Bus and Railworkers' Union (NBRU) later this month in response to Irish Rail seeking temporary pay-cuts.

Contribution

Speaking at the launch of new Bus Eireann services along the Wild Atlantic Way, Mr Donohoe said that Irish Rail had accumulated financial losses of €150m "and that is why I have emphasised that these wage cuts ... are really vital to make a big contribution to the viability of Irish Rail".

Minister Donohoe said the next intervention in the dispute "is really going to be vital".

"I really appreciate the disruption that was caused to commuters over the past two days," he said.

"I also appreciate the difficulty in asking for people to vote for their own wages to be cut," he added, but described the reduction as "necessary".

Mr Donohoe said that if the planned strike days "all go ahead, they will result in greater losses to the workers than the actually wage cuts themselves when implemented across that period".

"My overall point to everyone involved is to seriously reflect now on the impact of the losses over the two days," he said, "and to emphasise that a revenue loss of €1.5m to a company that is already in great difficulty is something that is going to make their current situation very difficult.

"I have heard again a number of people calling on me to become personally involved in the dispute at this stage.

Taxpayer

"I would just urge people to remember that when such calls are made the question has to be asked: with whose money will such an intervention be paid for? And of course, the person who ultimately will pay is the tax-payer and the country at large."

He said that this is an issue that has been in various forums over 18 months "and the Labour Court itself has stated that the wage cuts are vital for the viability of the company".

hnews@herald.ie


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