Luas staff to hold two 48-hour strikes in February

Dates set for strikes are Thursday 11th, Friday 12th, Thursday 18th and Friday 19th

Luas operator Transdev claims drivers are seeking pay rises of more than 50 per cent, which the company is not in a position to pay. Photograph: The Irish Times

Luas operator Transdev claims drivers are seeking pay rises of more than 50 per cent, which the company is not in a position to pay. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

Staff at the Luas light rail system in Dublin are to stage two 48-hour strikes next month as part of a dispute over pay.

Trade union Siptu, which represents the staff, said the stoppages would take place on February 11th, 12th, 18th and 19th.

The operator of the Luas system said some tram drivers were seeking pay increases of 53.8 per cent as part of the current dispute.

Siptu said Luas operator Transdev was not prepared to offer increases in excess of the consumer price index.

‘Negative figure’

In its first public comment on the dispute, Transdev argued the current terms and conditions of its employees were “very favourable”.

Transdev managing director Gerry Madden described the proposed industrial action as “disappointing” and urged the union and staff to resume talks.

Siptu utilities division organiser Owen Reidy said there was a flaw in the business model for Luas. He said the tram system had seen an increase in passengers and revenue of about 30 per cent in recent years but was still losing money.

He said the contract between Transdev and Transport Infrastructure Ireland was so restrictive it would seem to preclude pay bargaining for the next five years.

Transdev said tram drivers with nine years’ experience who were earning €42,247 were seeking a 53.8 per cent increase to €64,993. It said revenue protection officers or ticket inspectors who were currently on a salary of €36,434 after nine years were seeking a 20 per cent rise.

Transdev said supervisors on a current salary of €47,941 were looking for an increase of 21 per cent by 2017.

Siptu said the Luas workers operated a service seven days per week, 364 days a year, and received nothing in addition to their salaries for working unsocial hours or weekends.

Bonus payment of 6.5%

It said more than 96 per cent of employees also received a maximum bonus payment of 6.5 per cent on top of salary.

“This averages out at between €2,200 and €3,000 per employee per annum.”

The pay increases would bring the wages paid to Luas staff into line with those paid to Irish Rail employees.