Luas strike disrupts Easter Monday travel plans

Tram staff plan further stoppages for next weekend in dispute over pay and conditions

Thousands of people in Dublin will have their travel plans disrupted on Easter Monday due to further strike action by staff operating the Luas light rail system.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Thousands of people in Dublin will have their travel plans disrupted on Easter Monday due to further strike action by staff operating the Luas light rail system. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Thousands of people in Dublin will again have their travel plans disrupted today due to further strike action by staff operating the Luas light rail system.

Further stoppages are also scheduled to take place next weekend as well as on two other days in late April as part of an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.

Drivers and revenue protection grades working on the Luas system, who are members of Siptu, last week overwhelmingly rejected a deal brokered at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

Transdev, the company that operates the Luas system, said last week it was very disappointed at the vote by staff.

It said it would take stock of its position over the Easter weekend and would provide a considered response in the days ahead.

‘Not acceptable’

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe said at the weekend it was a real shame that an act of goodwill was not forthcoming from the drivers to allow the Luas operate for the 1916 centenary commemorations.

He said the prospect of indefinite strikes was “not acceptable” and he would not take out the taxpayers’ cheque book to solve the pay dispute.

Asked if he was concerned Transdev would pull out of Ireland, Mr Donohoe said the company had made it clear it would not respond with “knee-jerk reactions”.

Siptu president Jack O’Connor has said he remained willing to engage in talks but that Transdev had to improve its offer.

Proposals rejected by Luas staff

Drivers with more than four years of service would receive a 2 per cent increase on the date of the agreement this year, a further 2 per cent in January 2017, 3 per cent in January 2018 and 3 per cent in January 2019. In addition 90 drivers with over four years’ service at the top of the 10-point incremental scale on July 1, 2018, would receive two long-service increments six months apart -- the following July and January-- worth about 7.2 per cent. This would bring pay levels to €50,000 as of January 1, 2019.

The proposed new entrant rates were 10 per cent below existing rates for the first year and 5 percent below existing rates for the second, third and fourth years .

These new entrants - and existing Luas staff who were in their first four years of service - would receive 8 per cent in pay increases over the period. A 2 per cent rise would come into effect on the date of the agreement this year with three other increases of 2 per cent scheduled for January 2017, 2018 and 2019.

However in addition to the proposedlower entrants’ rates, drivers would also have to accept increased productivitymeasures including an extended shift duration to 9.5hours, full flexibility regarding breaks and revisedarrangements for accrued annual leave.