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Sunday 20 August 2017

Easter Luas strike 'could lose city €1m', warns business chief

Dublin Town’s Richard Guiney (Damien Eagers)
Dublin Town’s Richard Guiney (Damien Eagers)

The Luas strike over the Easter weekend could cost Dublin city traders more than €1m, a leading business organisation has warned.

Luas workers overwhelmingly rejected proposals to avert the strike threatened for Easter Sunday and Monday.

It will leave tens of thousands of passengers with few transportation options to attend the Easter Rising centenary celebrations, said Dublin Town CEO Richard Guiney.

The commemorations are expected to draw around one million spectators this weekend.

Around 60,000 foreign visitors will be among the hundreds of thousands of people expected to line the streets of the capital for the historic Easter Sunday parade.

But with Dublin Bus already at full capacity and major traffic and Dublin Bikes restrictions in place this weekend "one would expect there to be a major impact", Mr Guiney predicted.

Transportation Minister Paschal Donohue said he was both "surprised and disappointed" by the overwhelming rejection of proposals yesterday.

Bargaining

It was hoped the marathon 28-hour bargaining session by members of the trade union Siptu and Luas operator Transdev at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) last week would have been resolved.

A tentative agreement, which would have given Luas drivers an 18pc pay rise over three years, resulted in the union calling off a strike planned for St Patrick's Day at the 11th hour.

But that agreement is "now officially off the table and we'll have to re-think our strategy," Transdev Managing Director Gerry Madden said last night.

After all but two of 167 Luas drivers rejected the proposals during balloting this week, the strike is back on, Siptu's Owen Reidy said last night.

Mr Reidy cited what he called "a complete breakdown in the relationship and trust between the driver grade and management at the company".

He said drivers rejected a new pay scale "that leaves new entrants on lower pay than current staff". They also rejected productivity measures sought by the company. Mr Donohue said the strikers will get little public sympathy.

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