Bank holiday chaos as Irish Rail drivers to hold stoppage
There will be widespread disruption later this month for commuters who rely on Irish Rail as train drivers have voted in favour of taking industrial action.
The two unions that represent train drivers, Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU), confirmed yesterday that members had voted overwhelmingly in favour of participating in industrial action.
It is understood that commuters will be hit by work stoppages during morning services on the Friday of the October bank holiday weekend.
The NBRU confirmed that 95pc of its members have voted in favour of industrial action, while 92pc of Siptu's train drivers also balloted in favour.
The ballot came after talks in the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) regarding past productivity issues collapsed.
The NBRU claimed the talks broke down as "the company was not willing to engage on the past productivity element" from a 2014 LRC agreement.
Train drivers say that despite being hit by pay cuts, they are also facing demands for increased productivity.
The two unions are set to meet on Thursday to discuss what form of industrial action they will take. It is understood that "short-term stoppages" are on the agenda.
A senior source indicated that the semi-state company's Dart and commuter services will be affected. And it is believed that the first stoppage will last for two to three hours on the morning of October 23.
However, if the dispute continues, it is likely to affect other train services on a second day.
"The LRC agreement is quite clear with regard to discussing past productivity. We have never encountered a situation where the company have simply said they are not going to honour our agreement and are unwilling to engage," said Dermot O'Leary, the general secretary of the NBRU.
Irish Rail said the ballot for industrial action in this context was "unnecessary" and added that any course of action would "renew the threat to the future viability of Irish Rail, job security and services we provide, in a situation where we continue to incur losses in excess of €1m per month".