Irish Rail staff ballot in favour of new deal on pay and savings

Dear offers a potential 15 per cent pay increase over five years

Unions at Irish Rail have overwhelmingly agreed a deal which could potentially see them get pay increases of up to 15 per cent over five years.

The result of the ballot of five trade unions at Irish Rail showed 75 per cent of workers in favour of the deal and 25 per cent against.

The unions were the National Bus and Rail Union; (NBRU) Siptu, the Transport Salaries Staffs’ Association (TSSA), as well as the Unite and Connect unions.

This agreement delivers a 10.5 per cent pay increase over five years with the potential for a further 4.5 per cent “self-funded increase”, which is subject to the workers achieving verifiable efficiencies.


The workers will be paid a 3.5 per cent increase this year, followed by 2.5 per cent next year. In each of the years 2024, 2025, 2026, a 1.5 per cent cost of living increase is to be paid, along with a 1.5 per cent productivity increase. The annual 1.5 per cent productivity increase will only be paid subject to efficiencies being obtained.

Dermot O’Leary of the NBRU said the workers had engaged with the company and approved the proposals which involve an element of cost savings to achieve the targets.

The agreement was described as “ hugely significant” and one which “now gives us stability and certainty for the future”, by Irish Rail chief executive Jim Meade who said it would impact on the company’s “ambitions for the future, for our customers”.

Mr Meade said he was grateful to the trade union leadership teams as well as Irish Rail’s HR function for the collaborative approach “that will enhance our day to day interactions and contribute to the overall success of our company”.

He said he believed the agreement would “represent a clear statement to Government, regulatory bodies, and the wider public that investment in Iarnród Éireann is a prudent investment: that when we are supported and given the stability to develop and deliver ambitious plans to expand the role of our rail service, our people right across the company will respond to and support this ambition too”.

Irish Rail has agreements in place covering both train operations under National Transport Authority and public service Obligation contracts, along with a multiannual infrastructure contract with the Department of Transport.

Irish Rail has also agreed an ambitious investment programme nationally, in the Dublin area and in the State’s regional cities. Mr Meade noted the Company’s Rosslare Europort was “firmly positioned as Ireland’s Gateway to Europe”, and was embarking on an ambitious plan to be Ireland’s Offshore Renewable Energy hub

He also mentioned the company’s “growing Freight business”, a “strong overarching corporate strategy”, a workplace, which “offers career opportunities for all, and commitments to support career and talent development, and foster a more inclusive and equal workplace”.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist