Luas strikes appear set to go ahead this week

Up to 90,000 people will be affected by two-day stoppages

The dispute at Luas centres on demands by staff for improved termsand conditions. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

The dispute at Luas centres on demands by staff for improved termsand conditions. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

A two-day strike which will lead to the cancellation of all Luas services in Dublin on Thursday and Friday now seems set to go ahead.

At this stage is seems unlikely that there will be any further third party intervention to try avert the planned work stoppages.

Up to 90,000 people are likely to be affected by the strikes on Thursday and Friday.

A further two-day strike is scheduled for the following week.

The dispute at Luas centres on demands by staff for improved terms and conditions.

The operator of the Luas system, Transdev, has said staff are seeking increases of between 8 and 53 per cent. The company said this would cost it €30 million.

In a letter to staff on Tuesday, Transdev managing director Gerry Madden urged them to to question the strategy being pursued by their union representatives.

“Sensible voices have to emerge and people have to be willing to express their opinions on the course of action about to happen,” Mr Madden said. “The claims that have been submitted do not provide a credible starting basis for negotiations and until they are reviewed we will not find a resolution.”

Mr Madden said there was a path forward to resolve the dispute within the financial constraints of the company’s operating contract and in a way that protected and enhanced terms and conditions over the lifetime of the contract.

He said that many staff would lose four days ’ pay as a result of the planned stoppages but that this burden was not being shared evenly. He said some other personnel would be affected less seriously by the strikes.

Siptu, which represents staff at Luas, has argued that workers have to date only been offered increases in line with inflation, which is currently close to zero.

The union has said any resolution will necessitate “movement” by the company on the crucial issue of workers’ pay.

“In talks over the last 18 months, Transdev has failed to offer an increase in pay for the next five years to Luas workers.

“The company position in talks in all forums has been that it will only offer pay increases in line with the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI is currently, and has been for some time, a negative figure,” it said.