Unions and Irish Rail to enter talks over pay dispute

Two 24-hour strikes in a week have caused huge disruption

Striking rail workers outside Heuston train station in Dublin on Tuesday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Striking rail workers outside Heuston train station in Dublin on Tuesday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

 

Talks are to take place at the Labour Court on Thursday in an attempt to avert further planned strikes on the country’s railways.

Unions and management at Irish Rail accepted an invitation issued by the Labour Court to attend further negotiations aimed at resolving a dispute over pay.

Staff at Irish Rail have staged two 24-hour work stoppages over the last week or so as part of a campaign for a 3.75 per cent annual pay rise without the provision of additional productivity.

Three further strikes are scheduled to take place over the coming weeks and unions have warned the dispute could escalate further with more stoppages in the run up to Christmas.

Siptu said its representatives would attend the Labour Court on Thursday “with a view to achieving an acceptable resolution of the pay dispute”.

Iarnród Éireann management said the company welcomed the invitation from the Labour Court to take part in the talks.

It said it hoped the dispute could be resolved “in a manner that ensures customers suffer no further disruption to services”.

The National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) said: “Whilst accepting that the Labour Courts invitation is a potential step forward in attempting to resolve this debilitating and unnecessary dispute, it should be borne in mind that the intransigence displayed by Irish Rail Management, led it should be said by the CEO, together with tacit support from the Department of Transport, will make an overall resolution to this dispute more difficult than it might otherwise have been, had the Company (over recent weeks), acted in an appropriate manner, with both its own staff and the State’s third party industrial relations institutions.”