Unions give Iarnród Éireann deadline of late September for pay offer

Unions warn of ballot for industrial action and reject pay link to additional productivity

Iarnród Éireann: Any pay rises not funded by further productivity measures would have a ‘catastrophic impact’ on its financial position. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

Iarnród Éireann: Any pay rises not funded by further productivity measures would have a ‘catastrophic impact’ on its financial position. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

Unions have set a deadline of late September for management at Iarnród Éireann to come up with significant proposals for pay increases for the 4,000 staff at the rail company.

The National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU), one of the unions involving in talks with the company at present, warned that in the absence of serious offer, industrial action on the country’s railways could be on the way.

NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary said unions had signalled to the company they wanted the current talks process on pay to conclude by September 27th.

He said unless the company came up with a serious offer by that date, his union would look at moving to ballot its members for industrial action.

The trade union Siptu indicated earlier this month that staff at the company were seeking pay increases along the lines of the 3.75 per cent annually secured by other workers in the transport sector such as Luas and Dublin Bus.

Siptu also rejected any move by management at the State-owned rail operator to link pay rises to additional productivity.

Iarnród Éireann told the Labour Court recently that any increases not funded by further productivity measures would have a “catastrophic impact” on its financial position. It said it had accumulated losses of €159 million since 2007.

In the talks at the Workplace Relations Commission earlier this week , Iarnród Éireann presented unions with proposals on job cuts, performance and absence management.

Under one proposal for reform of organisation of customer services, Iarnród Éireann management proposed transferring significant numbers of staff from stations to customer service roles onboard all intercity trains.

Although this would create 75 additional posts to be filled internally, the number of ticket offices in stations would be reduced. The company argued that 83 percent of revenue was now processed through self-service channels.

Thirty-five stations under the proposal would retain ticket office facilities, although most would see self-service ticketing equipment updated.

Displaced ticketing staff would be offered available on-board and alternative station roles in the concourse on platforms.