Dart pay row leads to deferral of carriage testing

 

Iarnród Eireann tonight put off planned testing of new eight carriage Dart trains in a bid to resolve a bitter pay dispute with drivers.

Crisis talks were called in the hope of an eleventh-hour breakthrough after employees threatened to boycott the updated service.

Drivers were seeking wage increases of almost 10 per cent on their €48,000-a-year salaries for running the new system.

Following an emergency meeting lasting several hours, management at Iarnród Eireann agreed to postpone testing to allow union bosses to consult with drivers.

SIPTU and NRBU representatives will meet drivers tomorrow evening to discuss the situation.

A ballot was held by workers over the weekend on whether they should accept a Labour Court ruling. The court recommended an existing agreement from 2000 which allowed for improvements to the service without resistance or interruption by drivers.

Under the 'New Deal' Dart drivers are among the best paid workers in the transport sector with earnings of around €48,000 a year, for a five-day, 41 hour week.