Friday 28 October 2016

Anger as Luas drivers to lose a full day's pay for four-hour strike action

SIPTUs Owen Reidy (Photo: Frank McGrath)
SIPTUs Owen Reidy (Photo: Frank McGrath)

LUAS operator Transdev has been accused of "pouring fuel on the fire" of the ongoing dispute with drivers after the company confirmed they plan to dock drivers a full day's pay if they engage in planned four-hour work stoppages.

The company - who have already suspended sick pay and said that drivers will not be receiving an annual bonus this year - state that they have sought legal advice over pay for "part performance" and will dock drivers a full day's wages.

Siptu organiser Owen Reidy accused the company of "pouring fuel on the fire".

"It's quite tragic at this stage, instead of resolving this thing and getting into a space where we spend the next few days in a room hammering out a deal, [Transdev] seems to spend more time talking and plotting and planning in relation to counteracting action and pouring fuel on the fire," he told Newstalk.

However, the company has defended the move as one designed to avoid a summer of strikes or disruption to the service.


"We looked at the whole impact of this on the customer and the fact that we have been given strong indications locally that the idea was to just keep going here, to keep serving the company notice of an hour here and four hours [there] which would be a massive disruption, throughout the entire summer.

"To avoid this summer of discontent we have decided to say look: we're entitled to dock the whole shift rather than just four or six hours of it," a company source told the Herald.

According to the tram company the work stoppages will disrupt services for around six hours because trams would not be able to start a journey and be left on the line once the stoppage comes into effect.

An employment lawyer said that the company was entitled to dock wages for engaging in strike action.

Anne O'Connell, head of the employment law division at Sherwin O'Riordan Solicitors said: "There is a provision in the payment of wages act that allows for deduction of pay in relation to employees that are involved in industrial action.

"That's allowed under the payment of wages act and they would probably need to justify the extent of that deduction."

Earlier this week MD of Transdev Gerry Madden also said that the absentee rate in the company had risen threefold this year compared to last year, jumping from 4.5pc to 12pc, however they were unable to provide more detail on this at the time of writing.

"The absence calculation has been calculated the same way since start of operations in June 2004.

"So the figure of 12pc and the calculation has followed the same formula since start of operations and we know it is accurate," a spokeswoman said last night.

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