Luas and Dart users may face disruption in new year

‘Unworkable rosters’ cited as reason behind looming unrest at Luas and Iarnród Éireann

Staff at Luas are to ballot for industrial action in early January as part of a campaign to secure pay increases ranging from 28% to over 40%. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Staff at Luas are to ballot for industrial action in early January as part of a campaign to secure pay increases ranging from 28% to over 40%. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

 

Significant disruption is looming for Luas and rail users in the new year. Staff at Luas are to ballot for industrial action in early January as part of a campaign to secure pay increases ranging from 28 per cent to more than 40 per cent. Luas staff voted overwhelmingly yesterday, by 98 per cent to 2 per cent, to reject a Labour Court recommendation for dealing with pay and other issues.

Separately, the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and Siptu have rejected proposals for roster changes for drivers to facilitate the introduction of a 10-minute frequency Dart service which Iarnród Éireann wants to introduce in January.

The NBRU warned that the row could lead to further industrial relations difficulties on the railways.

Staff at Luas are seeking pay parity with train drivers at Iarnród Éireann. Siptu divisional organiser Owen Reidy said that unless the company came forward with a meaningful proposal on pay, a protracted dispute at Luas was inevitable.

Unrealistic

The operator of the Luas system,Transdev, did not comment. However, it is understood that the company considers pay demands by staff to be completely unrealistic as they would add €6 million a year to its annual costs, or €30 million over the lifetime of its contract to run the service.

The introduction of a 10-minute frequency Dart service in Dublin is one of the main goals of management at Iarnród Éireann for the year ahead and it wants to put the initiative in place in January.

However, the NBRU argued that plans for an increase in Dart service frequency had not been agreed.

The NBRU and Siptu, which also represents train drivers, are engaged in a process for dealing with a claim for payment for past productivity measures.

NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary said: “By issuing unworkable rosters, the company is setting its face against the long-standing principle of not acting unilaterally whilst in a process recommended by the State’s foremost industrial relations institution, the Labour Court.”