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Don't expect sympathy for causing travel strike misery

HOw'd you get to work on Monday?

You didn't take the train, anyway. You might have caught a bus, eventually. Or walked. Or spent a fortune on a taxi or on car parking charges.

Not that this bothers the striking hard-line rail workers, who wreaked havoc on the travel plans of up to 160,000 during their 48-hour stoppage on Sunday and Monday.

Not a bit of it. They're going to do it again, three more times, in the coming weeks. And that's before we get to the possibility of an all-out strike.

If these strikes go ahead, as is now highly likely, they will have a serious impact on the travel plans of commuters and GAA fans.

Dublin city business say the strikes will cost the city around €25m in lost revenue.


Given the scale of disruption, inconvenience and distress to the travelling public and the economic fall out it is extraordinary that Transport Minister Paschal Donohue (above) has effectively washed his hands of the matter, refusing point blank to intervene in the dispute.

It has become his responsibility to move on this crisis immediately, especially since the Labour Court and Labour Relations Commission have exhausted their efforts to end this dispute between management and workers of the NBRU and SIPTU.

Minister Donohue's statement that his intervention could undermine the work of the state industrial relations machinery lacks credibility and leadership.

Workers in the other CIE groups, Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann have already accepted similar cost-cutting measures as well as pay cuts.

The striking workers in Irish Rail must face the reality that their actions are putting at risk the very viability and continuing existence of the company, which is already dependent on €127m in state subsidies a year for its very survival.

Such strike action is both futile and stupid.

Since the current economic downturn most workers both in the public and private sectors have had to accept pay cuts.

Surely it's not that much of a sacrifice for the 75pc of workers in Irish Rail who are being asked to accept a small, and temporary I might add, 1.7pc cut to their wages.

By continuing in their refusal they will continue to inflict misery, distress and chaos an innocent travelling public.

These rail workers shouldn't look for or expect any support or sympathy.