NBRU members vote in favour of new pay deal

Train staff set for pay rises of 2.5% for 3 years and €500 tax-free voucher to resolve strike

Trains sit idle on the platforms at Heuston Station, Dublin last month  during a  second one-day strike by Irish Rail train drivers over pay and conditions. Photograph: PA

Trains sit idle on the platforms at Heuston Station, Dublin last month during a second one-day strike by Irish Rail train drivers over pay and conditions. Photograph: PA

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Workers at Irish Rail have strongly backed proposals aimed at resolving a dispute over pay at the company which led to two 24-hour strikes last month.

The votes of union members removes the prospect of further stoppages on the country’s railways.

However unions signalled they will press for pay increases for staff in Bus Eireann.

The NBRU said its members backed Labour Court proposals to resolve the dispute at Irish Rail by 69 per cent.

Siptu members voted to accept the proposals by 75 per cent to 25 percent while 83 percent of members of the Unite trade union supported the deal.

Under the proposals, Irish Rail staff will receive pay increases of 2.5 per cent each year for three years. In addition, the 3,800 workers at the State-owned rail operator will be given a once-off €500 tax-free voucher.

Irish Rail welcomed the ballot results and and said it looked forward to engaging with trade unions “on the essential efficiency and productivity issues outlined in the recommendation, and within the timescales detailed by the Labour Court”.

The company said as the dispute was now over passengers with season tickets could access a form on its website to claim refunds for the days of disruption.

The general secretary of the NBRU Dermot O’Leary said: “Our members have made a mature and pragmatic decision in accepting this pay award after 10 years of pay stagnation.

“They have done so in the face of a management team who, led by the chief executive, set its face against recognising the fact that staff that have contributed greatly to making Irish Rail a successful modern railway service, with record revenue and the highest ever recorded passenger numbers, superior to the much vaunted, but in reality the shambolic overpriced privately run railway system in the UK.”

He said the NBRU would now concentrate on ensuring its members in Bus Éireann, would “soon be in a similar position to colleagues in Irish Rail and Dublin Bus, by achieving a long overdue and well-deserved pay award”.

“Siptu transport division organiser Greg Ennis, said the solution to the the dispute in Irish Rail could have been arrived at without the major disruption to services which occurred last month if the Minister for Transport had “lived up to his commitment to bring together the forum to discuss the future of transport in Ireland”.

“Instead our members were left with no option but to conduct a campaign of industrial action to have their legitimate claim for their first pay-rise in nine years vindicated.”

Unite regional officer Willie Quigley said: “This result would not have been achieved without the determined action taken by workers which saw two days of strike action by Irish Rail staff. “

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