Labour Court to issue pay ruling as further rail strikes loom

Unions at Irish Rail due to meet on Friday to consider expected recommendation

 Irish Rail: Unions argue that the 3,800 employees at the company have not had a pay rise in 10 years. Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Irish Rail: Unions argue that the 3,800 employees at the company have not had a pay rise in 10 years. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

The Labour Court is expected to issue a recommendation on Friday in the Irish Rail pay dispute which has led to train services being halted on two days this month.

The group of unions representing staff at the State-owned rail operator are likely to meet on Friday evening to consider the Labour Court finding.

The unions will decide whether the proposals should be put to ballot and on whether a planned further 24-hour rail stoppage, scheduled to take place next Tuesday, should go ahead.

Irish Rail management as well as trade unions representing the company’s 3,800 staff took part in a six-hour hearing at the Labour Court on Thursday.

Before the meeting, Siptu transport division organiser Greg Ennis said he was taking part in the process “more in hope than expectation and confidence”. He said there was a massive gap between the unions and management.

He said the union would consider any proposal that emerged from the new process. However, he warned the dispute could escalate if no resolution was reached.

The general secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union Dermot O’Leary said that, given the experience of previous bids to resolve the dispute, he was not confident a solution could be found.

He said the three further 24-hour stoppages planned by staff at Irish Rail were scheduled to go ahead.

Strike dates

The three further strikes are planned for: Tuesday, November 14th, the day of Ireland’s home World Cup play-off tie with Denmark; Thursday, November 23rd; and Friday, December 8th, traditionally a busy Christmas shopping day.

Workers at Irish Rail have already staged two 24-hour strikes in recent weeks.

Irish Rail staff are seeking a pay rise of 3.75 per cent, without provision of additional productivity. Unions argued that the 3,800 employees at the company have not had a pay rise in 10 years.