Union links Maynooth rail service upgrade to pay dispute resolution

Union members to distribute leaflets to commuters day before first 24-hour strike

Broombridge station, near Cabra in Dublin. Iarnród Éireann wants to increase services on the Maynooth line to connect with the Luas cross-city service to the station. Photograph: Alan Betson

Broombridge station, near Cabra in Dublin. Iarnród Éireann wants to increase services on the Maynooth line to connect with the Luas cross-city service to the station. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Staff at Iarnród Éireann insist they will not comply with company plans to increase the frequency of services on the Maynooth rail line to connect with Dublin’s new Luas route until a dispute over pay is settled.

The threat is made in a pamphlet that is to be distributed on trains today by members of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) ahead of the first of a series of 24-hour strikes starting on Wednesday.

Iarnród Éireann wants to increase commuter services along the Maynooth line to connect with the Luas cross-city service to Broombridge, just beyond Cabra, which is due to start in December.

The cross-city service takes in 14 stops from St Stephen’s Green right through the city centre and out through Broadstone and Cabra to the terminus at Broombridge. The Broombridge Luas stop is adjacent to the Broombridge railway stop and connected by a platform interchange.

Unions at Iarnród Éireann have said no rail services will operate this Wedensday; on Tuesday, November 7th; Tuesday, November 14th; Thursday, November 23rd; or Friday, December 8th due to the strikes.

‘Close to insolvency’

Iarnród Éireann has warned it is already “dangerously close to insolvency” with accumulated losses of €160 million and the planned strikes would further weaken its precarious financial position.

About 155,000 journeys are made each day across the Dart, commuter and intercity rail network

In a leaflet entitled Irish Rail Dispute: the Facts, the NBRU states that staff have not had a pay increase since 2008 and have endured cost-cutting programmes , which included cuts to pay, between 2012 and 2016.

Government funding has fallen from €189 million in 2009 to €117 million last year, the leaflet states.

It also points to Irish Rail revenues rising from a low of €185 million at the start of the recession to a “record high of €245 million in 2016 and claims “Irish Rail has been out boasting about record passenger numbers”.

The leaflet points to a 20 per cent fall in staffing levels in the past decade and a decrease of more than €25 million in payroll since 2008.

It also notes the recommendation by the National Transport Authority that the Government should compensate Irish Rail for years of underfunding with an injection of €125 million over the next three years.

The NBRU leaflet apologises for discommoding passengers but the decision to strike “is borne out of frustration and is very much the last resort”.