Iarnród Éireann pay discussions break down

Row between rail company and unions over salary rises is to be referred to Labour Court

Talks over pay increases for Iarnród Éireann staff at the Workplace Relations Commission have ended without agreement. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Talks over pay increases for Iarnród Éireann staff at the Workplace Relations Commission have ended without agreement. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

Talks over pay increases for Iarnród Éireann staff at the Workplace Relations Commission have ended without agreement.

A pay claim of up to 21 per cent by the two biggest trade unions at the company, Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU), is now to be referred to the Labour Court.

It is understood that at the talks at the Workplace Relations Commission on Monday, unions rejected management proposals for any pay rise to be linked to efficiencies or flexibilities.

The unions want pay rises “with no strings attached”.

Ahead of the talks, Iarnród Éireann said that continued efficiency and flexibility was essential if the company was to be in any position to respond to employees’ aspirations for improved earnings.

The company warned that it remained “one misstep away from insolvency, due to accumulated deficits from recent years”.

Company management said Iarnród Éireann lost €3 million last year, and had an accumulated deficit of €153 million.

After the talks broke down on Monday, the general secretary of the NBRU, Dermot O’Leary, said he was very disappointed that no pay offer had emerged from the discussions.

While the two unions have sought increases of about 21 per cent, it is understood that a more realistic objective is the 11.25 per cent pay rise over three years secured by staff at Dublin Bus following a strike last autumn.

Dublin Bus ballot

Meanwhile, the NBRU said it would ballot its members in Dublin Bus from as early as Thursday for strike action in a row over pensions.

The union has maintained that, under the deal that ended the strike last autumn, pay increases were to become reckonable for pension purposes from the beginning of February, but this had not happened.

Mr O’Leary said the ballot would be considered at a branch meeting on Wednesday, but that question was when to ballot, not if a ballot would take place.

A spokeswoman for Dublin Bus said a process was underway which was looking at the issue of pensions for staff in the three companies inthe broader CIÉ group. She said that this process was continuing.