Luas staff to ballot for strike action as part of 40% pay claim

Protracted dispute inevitable without meaningful proposals, claims Siptu official

Luas staff are seeking pay parity with train drivers at Iarnród Éireann. File photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Luas staff are seeking pay parity with train drivers at Iarnród Éireann. File photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

 

Luas tram staff in Dublin are to ballot for industrial action in early January as part of a campaign for pay increases ranging from 28 per cent to more than 40 per cent.

Staff at the company on Tuesday rejected overwhelmingly by 98 per cent to 2 per cent a Labour Court recommendation for dealing with the pay and other issues.

Siptu divisional organiser Owen Reidy said after the vote that unless the company came forward with a meaningful proposal on pay, a protracted dispute was inevitable.

Luas operator Transdev did not comment on the vote by staff to reject the Labour Court recommendation.

However it is understood the company considers the pay demands put forward by Luas staff to be completely unrealistic.

Seeking pay parity

The Luas staff are seeking pay parity with train drivers at Iarnród Éireann.

Sources said that depending on the grades involved, increases being sought would range from the high 20s to more than 40 per cent.

It is understood the company believes the pay demands would add €6 million per year to its costs, or €30 million over the lifetime of its five-year contract to operate the Luas service.

The Labour Court had recommended that a four-week period for “realistic and meaningful negotiations” under the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) on pay and other issues at Luas take place.

The court had earlier proposed that an independent assessment be commissioned into the company’s financial position and the cost of each element of the union’s claim.

It is understood Luas staff rejected the findings of the independent financial report.