Talks aimed at averting train strike to resume on Monday

Industrial dispute centres on a row over pay and mentoring of new drivers

There are delays of up to 30 minutes on DART services this morning after a truck hit a bridge at Clontarf.  The frequency of the Dart service between Bray and Howth Junction is increasing to every 10 minutes.

There are delays of up to 30 minutes on DART services this morning after a truck hit a bridge at Clontarf. The frequency of the Dart service between Bray and Howth Junction is increasing to every 10 minutes.

 

Talks aimed at averting an all-out strike by train drivers at Irish Rail in a dispute over mentoring of new driving staff will resume on Monday.

Management at Irish Rail as well the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and Siptu held talks for several hours at the Workplace Relations Commission on Friday before adjourning for the weekend.

Irish Rail said that the issue of restoring driver mentoring remained unresolved, “but the engagement will resume on Monday in an effort to seek solutions to ensure much-needed service expansion can be delivered”.

Last week, the NBRU and Siptu said they would ballot locomotive and Dart drivers for strike action.

The NBRU said last week it was carrying out the ballot “as a result of an unprecedented attack on long-standing industrial relations procedures by forcing changes to terms and conditions within the training regime without agreement”.

Train drivers overwhelmingly rejected a deal last month which would have seen them receive a 1.15 per cent pay rise for past productivity in return for co-operation in mentoring about 30 new drivers.

Up to now, mentoring has been viewed as a voluntary arrangement.

However, management at Irish Rail told staff last month that from January 25th, it would pay the 1.15 per cent rise for past productivity in addition to a recently-agreed general pay increase of 2.5 per cent, which is being paid to all staff.

Management also said that from that time, it would amend drivers’ terms and conditions “to reflect the fact that the mentoring of trainee drivers is a requirement of the role of train drivers, eliminating any suggestion that this task is voluntary in nature”.

Irish Rail said that when undertaking a mentoring arrangement, drivers would be paid an allowance of €31 per day – an increase of 35 per cent on the existing rate of €23.

The company maintained that the new drivers were required to facilitate plans for a 10-minute frequency Dart service and the expansion of commuter services.