Talks between Luas drivers and Transdev fixed for Wednesday
Work stoppages planned for next weekend have been called off
Strike action is currently planned for the following dates: Thursday, April 28th; Wednesday, May 4th; Friday, May 13th; Friday, May 20th; Thursday, May 26th (Four hour work stoppage from 3pm–7pm); and Friday, May 27th. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Talks are expected to take place on Wednesday between Luas drivers and management at Transdev, the operator of the Dublin light rail system, in another bid to end the ongoing industrial action at the company.
The move follows a decision by Luas drivers to call off stoppages planned for this coming Saturday and Sunday – April 23rd-24th – which would have again brought the tram system to a standstill.
The trade union Siptu said Luas drivers decided on Monday “to unconditionally cancel the 48-hour stoppage scheduled for this weekend in order to create a window for talks with management aimed at finding a resolution to this dispute”.
Siptu also sought an urgent meeting with the Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe “in order to appraise him of our members’ concerns should this dispute continue indefinitely”.
Luas operator Transdev welcomed the cancellation of this weekend’s strike.
It said it would write to Siptu “to see is there a basis for renewed talks between the driver grade and the company”.
However on Monday night sources said talks were now expected to take place on Wednesday.
Three other non-driver grades of Luas workers – traffic supervisors, revenue protection officers and revenue protection supervisors – will meet with management on Tuesday in order to clarify some issues surrounding a revised pay offer put forward by the company.
Siptu divisional organiser Owen Reidy said that in order to ensure all members were kept up to date on the talks process two general meetings of all grades of Luas workers would take place in Liberty Hall in Dublin on Wednesday, April 20th and Thursday, April 21st.
Mr Reidy said the suspension of the strike scheduled for the weekend by drivers represented a gesture of goodwill rather than a softening of minds, or a weakness. He said workers were resolved to see a fair outcome through negotiated settlement.
He said the union reserved the right to escalate action should it feel the need to.
Luas employees have staged strikes on eight days since February as part of a campaign for improved pay and conditions.
Luas staff had also announced a further six days of strike action in the weeks ahead.
Transdev last week placed all Luas staff on protective notice and warned of pay deductions if the current wave of strikes at Dublin’s light rail system continued.
It also put forward a revised pay offer for staff which was inferior to the package of proposals drawn up at the Workplace Relations commission last month and which was subsequently rejected overwhlemingly by staff in a ballot.
Siptu warned Transdev last Friday that it would “not be found wanting to take steps to defends its members” if the company imposed pay cuts or laid off staff involved in the current industrial dispute.
In its letter to the Minister on Monday Siptu said it wanted to make it abundantly clear that it was not seeking him to intervene in the dispute.
“We are, however, seeking a meeting with you so that you can better understand our concerns surrounding the dispute, in particular how it has been misrepresented in the media by Transdev, which is a significant contributory factor to why the Luas dispute is perceived to be so intractable.”