Luas strike to go ahead after talks end without agreement

Non-driver staff end their dispute after voting to accept Transdev’s revised pay proposals

A Luas on Benburb Street in Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

A Luas on Benburb Street in Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

A planned strike by Luas drivers on Thursday as well as other stoppages scheduled for several days next month are now expected to go ahead after talks aimed at resolving the long-running dispute over pay ended without agreement.

Transdev, the operator of the Dublin Luas light rail rail system, said drivers had sought pay increases of 26.5 per cent in the talks on Monday without the provision of additional productivity.

Transdev managing director Gerry Madden said: “ The drivers were still in a space that was way north of anything we could possibly deliver.”

Siptu called on management to re-engage “at the earliest opportunty” in negotiations in order to reach a “just solution”

Siptu organiser Willie Noone said it was “very disappointing that the management of Transdev has not utilised the positive momentum resulting from the acceptance of its proposals on pay and conditions by Siptu members in the non-driving grades at Luas to seek to find a resolution to its dispute with the tram drivers.”

Siptu divisional organiser Owen Reidy said at talks on Monday the drivers had sought rises of 22 per cent to be paid by 2019, when Transdev’s existing contract for operating the Luas system expires.

He said this would take the maximum driver’s salary up to €52,000.

He said the drivers’ proposals were very close to those drawn up at the Workplace Relations Commission last month, which were rejected by staff.

He said drivers also wanted the company to move on its plans for lower rates for new entrants and on a proposed longer shift of 9 hours and 30 minutes on occasions.

Mr Reidy said drivers were prepared to look at new productivity proposals tabled by management.

He said all planned industrial action by drivers, including the strike scheduled for Thursday would go ahead.

In addition ot the planned stoppage on Thursday, Siptu has also served notice of strike action on Wednesday May 4th, Friday May 13th, Friday May 20th, Thursday May 26th (four hours from 3pm–7pm) and Friday May 27th

However Mr Reidy said three other non-driver grades -- revenue protection officers and supervisors as well as trafffic supervisors -- at Luas had ended their dispute after voting to accept revised pay proposals.

These grades will receive pay increases of up to 13 per cent over three years as well as a €750 once-off payment in return for productivity measures.

The non-driver grades will not be taking part in the planned strike on Thursday.

Mr Madden said drivers were seeking increases that were double the level of those accepted by the other grades.

He said warnings given to staff last week of potential lay-offs or pay deductions in the event of further strikes were “still live”.

Mr Madden said the company would be taking stock of the outcome of the talks on Monday.

Revenue officers

Revenue protection officers at Luas backed a revised pay offer put forward last week by Transdev by 75 per cent to 25 per cent.

A total of 85 per cent of revenue protection supervisors supported the pay proposals in a ballot.

It is understood that 75 percent of Luas traffic supervisors voted in favour of the proposals.

Under the agreement these grades of Luas staff will get phased pay increases of 10 per cent in total over 33 months.

In addition, a long-service increment of about 3 per cent will be paid to long-serving staff.

Staff will also receive a €750 one-off payment in November.

However, there will be lower pay rates for new entrants.

The shop steward for revenue protection personnel Dave Ryan said the vast majority of his members believed the revised pay proposals were right for their grade at this time.

“We were happy to recommend them on Friday and we are happy for them to be accepted today.”

‘Very pleased’

Transdev managing director Gerry Madden said he was very pleased at the result of the ballot of the non-driver grades.

He said there was a recognition on both sides that there had to be reasonable movement in talks with representatives of the three grades last week.

Siptu organiser John Murphy said: “Members in these three grades voted by a substantial [number] in favour of the proposals.

“These members believe that the proposals can form the basis for a just resolution to this dispute.

“Siptu members who work as Luas drivers are awaiting proposals in relation to their grade. If a realistic offer emerges it will be brought to the drivers for their consideration.”