Luas strike: Parties agree to talks on dispute next Wednesday

Siptu says it will take ‘effort and compromise’ from both sides to solve bitter pay dispute

Thousands of Dublin commuters have had to make alternative travel arrangements as Luas drivers began their second two-day strike in a dispute over pay and work conditions.Video: Bryan O'Brien


Luas staff representatives and the trade union Siptu are to hold talks with the Workplace Relations Commission next Wednesday.

The talks are a new attempt to resolve the dispute which has brought the Dublin light rail system to a standstill for four days over recent weeks, including today.

Luas services return to normal at 6.30am on Saturday.

Commission chief executive Kieran Mulvey is also to hold separate talks with management at Luas operator Transdev as part of the new initiative.

Up to 90,000 passengers faced travel disruptions on Friday as Luas staff held a second 48-hour strike as part of a dispute over pay and conditions.

Management says Luas tickets will not be redeemable on any other form of public transport during the strike and customers intending to purchase prepaid tickets “may wish to consider alternative ticket options”.

Dublin Bus said its full fleet would be deployed during the morning and evening peak travel times but that services were expected to be busier than normal.

Earlier on Friday Mr Mulvey said he planned to have “words” with both sides as to how the dispute could be resolved. “Nobody is winning on this, everybody is losing,” he said.

Mr Mulvey said the pay increases sought by workers of up to 53 per cent were “unusual”.

He said drivers went on strike on St Patrick’s Day it would not win the “hearts and minds” of the public.

“I’m not enamoured at the idea of a gun being put to our head in context of the negotiations particularly around St Patrick’s Day. St Patrick’s Day is our national holiday,” he said.

The Luas staff are in dispute with Luas operator Transdev over their terms and conditions. The company has said staff are seeking pay increases of between 8 and 53 per cent.

Mr Mulvey also said Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe should not become involved personally in trying to resolve the Luas dispute.

He said the Minister and agencies under the Department of Transport played a role in the procurement process that led to the awarding of the contract to operate the Luas system.

Owen Reidy, Siptu transport sector organiser, told The Irish Times there was a window of opportunity from now until March 8th to fix the dispute.

“Of course, we’ll go in and talk. There’s been no formal engagement for weeks,” he said.