Workplace commission to advise on scope for ending Luas dispute

Siptu warns Luas row could ‘fester and escalate’

Transdev managing director Gerry Madden said if Siptu did revise its claim substantially the new talks at the Workplace Relations Commission stood a chance of succeeding. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times.

Transdev managing director Gerry Madden said if Siptu did revise its claim substantially the new talks at the Workplace Relations Commission stood a chance of succeeding. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times.

 

The Workplace Relations Commission is to advise Luas management and staff on Thursday or Friday as to whether it believes there is a basis for convening conciliation talks aimed at resolving the current dispute at the company.

Officials of the Workplace Relations Commission spent several hours on Wednesday in separate meetings with management at Transdev, the company that operates the light rail system in Dublin and representatives of various grades of staff.

Luas staff want to negotiate a way out of the current dispute with the company that has led to two 48-hour strikes in recent weeks, Siptu has said.

Arriving for talks at the Workplace Relations Commission on Wednesday, the union’s divisional organiser Owen Reidy said staff at the Dublin light rail system would rather avoid any further strike action.

However, he said two sides were needed to negotiate in any dispute. “Up to now we have not had that. It remains to be seen how we can proceed.”

He warned if a new process could not be established, the dispute would “fester and escalate. That is not what anybody needs. It is not what we want.”

Management at Luas operator Transdev earlier said the company hoped staff would substantially modify their pay claim in talks to resolve the industrial action.

Transdev managing director Gerry Madden said if Siptu did revise its claim substantially the new talks stood a chance of succeeding. However, he said if the union did not modify its demands “ the chances become more difficult”.

Siptu has sought pay increases of between 8 and 53 per cent from the company.

Mr Madden said Transdev had maintained it would look at increases of between 1 and 3 per cent with productivity enhancements as a reasonable starting point.

He said he hoped the union would come to the new talks with a sensible and reasonable claim which the parties could talk about.

Mr Reidy said Transdev needed to look at the “dysfunctional relationship” it had with its own employees.

Both union and management on Wednesday met separately with commission officials.

Commission chief Kieran Mulvey said he would talk confidentially to both sides and see if there was a basis to move to a full conciliation process aimed at resolving the dispute.