Tuesday’s Luas strike called off to allow for talks

Management and staff agree to negotiations at Workplace Relations Commission on Monday

A planned strike which would have brought Luas services in Dublin to a standstill next Tuesday has been called off to facilitate new talks.

Talks aimed at resolving the current dispute at the Dublin light rail system are to get underway o Monday at the Workplace Relations Commission.

Siptu, which represents staff at Luas, had earlier proposed cancelling the strike to provide a window of opportunity for a new talks process to commence.

Further strikes at Luas are scheduled to take place on March 17th, St Patrick’s Day as well as over the Easter weekend, a stoppage which could affect the 1916 centenary commemorations.


Luas operator, Transdev said it anticipated that the talks at the Workplace Relations Commission next week would “ be difficult and long, given the scale of the pay claim before the company and the expectations that have been created”.

“Transdev however believe the WRC will create the framework for positive discussions and look forward to a resolution in the weeks to come.”

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe welcomed renewed efforts and said the cancellation of Tuesday’s strike was a “step in the right direction”. “ I sincerely hope that this signals an intention to resolve the matter so that regular services, without interruption, can be resumed,” he said.

In a letter to Luas operator Transdev on Thursday morning, the trade union Siptu said the new initiative demonstrated that its members were prepared to engage and resolve the current dispute at the Dublin light rail system.

On Wednesday, Siptu members at Luas served notice to hold further strikes over the Easter bank holiday weekend. The union maintained that these were announced at that time as under an agreement with the company it had to provide 21 days notice of industrial action.

In the letter sent  on Thursday Siptu divisional organiser Owen Reidy said; “Each of the 4 grades in dispute are prepared to cancel the 24 hour stoppage scheduled for March 8th 2016 in order to create a window of now 13 days, (14 days as of yesterday when the proposal was put to the Workplace Relations Commission and you), if you, the company are agreeable to enter immediate third party talks, (ideally under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission).”

Mr Reidy said he would be surprised if the Workplace Relations Commission would oppose new talks in the event that both management and the union were in favour of these being convened.

“I understand that the management are not at all happy with the Driver grades decision to serve notice for the Easter weekend, but surely it is incumbent on management to now accept the initiative for talks proposed by the 4 grades to seek to avoid action in two weeks or in 3.5 weeks.

“Surely the time is now to talk to staff representatives to avoid what may happen in a number of weeks rather than to continue to talk at staff and make what may occur more likely than less likely.”

“The longer term industrial action will only cease in the event of a settlement that is agreeable to each of the 4 grades.”

The dispute centres on demands by Luas staff for increases of up to 53 per cent over a number of years as well as improvements in conditions of employment.

The company has argued that the staff claims are excessive and unsustainable.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent