Luas users facing ‘sustained, ongoing’ disruption to service

Two days of strike action in store this week, with two more next month

People walking the Luas line near Milltown in Dublin last week. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

People walking the Luas line near Milltown in Dublin last week. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

A senior union official warned on Tuesday that the public can expect a period of sustained industrial action on the Luas service unless management address the pay demands of tram drivers.

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

The managing director of Transdev, the operating company, Gerry Madden, said the wage increases being sought by the drivers would cost €6 million a year over the next five years. “The irony here is that every time there is a strike our financial position worsens and decreases our ability to make a pay award to our people,” he said.

Luas staff have called two one-day strikes next month, including St Patrick’s Day, when thousands of people coming into Dublin city centre for the parade will be affected if the stoppage goes ahead.

Both Luas tram lines were closed due to strike action last Thursday and Friday, and will be again on the same days this week. Siptu has stepped up the protest action by announcing further strikes on Tuesday, March 8th, and Thursday, March 17th when Dublin will be thronged with revellers for the St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Mr Reidy, speaking on Newstalk radio, said that “if Transdev keep talking about 53 per cent we will get nowhere in this dispute. The figure is north of the Consumer Price Index and south of 53 per cent.

“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. Unless the employers can come to the table with new thinking we are in for a period of sustained, ongoing industrial action”.

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