Luas strike: Commuters face second two-day stoppage

Next round of action due for Thursday and Friday with further disruption set for March

People walking the Luas line near Milltown, last week during the first planned two-day stoppage as a result of strike action. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

People walking the Luas line near Milltown, last week during the first planned two-day stoppage as a result of strike action. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Thousands of commuters will be left stranded again this week as Luas workers are set to hold another two-day strike on Thursday and Friday.

It will be the third and fourth day of strike action, which will affect about 180,000 people travelling in Dublin.

Services will stop at midnight on Wednesday and resume Saturday morning.

Luas management said staff who are taking part in strike action will have up to four days of pay deducted this month.

Luas operator Transdev said a continuation of the current pay dispute will “undermine the company’s ability to protect existing terms and conditions”.

Further stoppages are planned for March 8th and St Patrick’s Day.

Fine Gael Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe said that the timing of the strike on St Patrick’s Day, a holiday that brings in thousands of tourists and over €70 million in revenue to Dublin city, is “very damaging”.

He said it was being organised in a way that does “maximum damage to our city” during a time in which Dublin is trying “to get back on its feet.”

Speaking at the launch of the St. Patrick’s Festival programme on Wednesday, Mr Donohoe said, “It’s been timed to deliver maximum disruption not only to commuters but to Dublin... Everybody is now loosing as a result of this. The employees of the company are loosing, the employers are losing, Dublin is loosing and potentially the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are also loosing.”

Mr Donohue said that the strike could only be resolved if there is “a willingness on all sides to come to the table on a reasonable basis and to put together a platform for resolving this dispute”.

He said it is imperative that all sides engage with the Labour Court or the Workplace Relations Commission.

The industrial action forms part of a campaign for improved terms and conditions, including pay increases of up to 53 per cent in some cases.

Owen Reidy, transport sector organiser with Siptu, the union representing the majority of Luas workers, said resolving the dispute would go nowhere as long as Transdev continued talking about increases of 53 per cent being sought.

“We need to get into a situation where management have a new and flexible approach that can lead to a better deal for all involved,” he said.