Luas strike: 90,000 commuters hit by second day of action

Luas to restart operations on Saturday with further stoppages planned for next week

Both lines of the Luas light-rail system came to a standstill in a strike that will affect almost 100,000 commuters.

 

More than 90,000 Dublin commuters will be affected by a strike by Luas staff on Friday as the light rail system stops service for a second day.

Luas has advised customers that service will resume on Saturday at 6.30am, but a further stoppage is scheduled for next Thursday and Friday.

A statement on the Luas website said Luas tickets are not valid on services of other public transport and Luas is not providing an alternative transport service.

Luas is advising customers to download the Transport for Ireland app for alternative travel options.

The strike centres on demands by staff for improved pay, terms and conditions.

Siptu, the trade union that represents Luas staff, said staff were left with no alternative but to take strike action. It said staff are prepared for a long and protracted dispute.

Owen Reidy, Siptu organiser, said that further industrial action on top of that already announced was inevitable if Luas operator Transdev did not come forward with meaningful proposals on pay.

Luas staff are seeking pay increases of between 8 and 53 per cent, claims which have raised eyebrows across the industrial relations and political worlds.

Pay movements in the private sector range from 2 to 3 per cent on average.

Mr Reidy said on Thursday morning that the union and workers wanted to negotiate and were flexible.

He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the 53 per cent figure was a headline figure, and an attractive figure for the company to refer to and for the media report.

“We are prepared to be flexible and negotiate. The top end figure is 53 per cent but it is over five years. This is a company where there has been one pay increase in the past six years of 2.5 per cent,” he said.

He said workers deserved to be rewarded as the company had grown by 30 per cent through the recession.

“All we are seeking is that the workers have the opportunity to share in the success of the operation,” he said.

Mr Reidy said the pay scale for Luas drivers ranged from € 32,000 to € 42,000.

Gerry Madden, managing director of Transdev, apologised to customers on behalf of the company.

He said that any “reasonable” pay claim would be looked at and that he was eager to find a resolution.

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohue has urged further talks but said the Government “could not produce money” to resolve the strike.