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Sunday 4 December 2016

Jobs at risk if strikes go on, Luas workers told

Commuters walk a Luas line during the last set of strikes. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Commuters walk a Luas line during the last set of strikes. Photo: Steve Humphreys

LUAS drivers have been warned that their jobs are at risk if their strike continues.

Transdev - the owners of the Luas - gave the warning to over 250 workers, and reportedly tabled a new set of pay proposals, which averaged 10pc lower than a package discussed at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) that had been rejected by staff.

But in a statement, the company said Siptu's expectations "remain in excess" of the WRC proposals, and, therefore, any talks would have no prospect of success.

Transdev and the union met yesterday in the Luas Red Cow Depot to discuss the ongoing row over pay rises.

Last week, Siptu served notice of another five days of strikes and a four-hour work stoppage. This was on top of two days of strikes later this month for which notice has already been served.

The Transdev statement said: "The company took the opportunity to outline the serious consequences of this dispute continuing and undertook to write to Siptu and our employees setting out its position."

Transdev said that it loses €100,000 for each day of strike action. It is understood that its revised pay proposal to staff would mean pay increases in two instalments of 2pc, followed by two 3pc increases over 33 months. However, sources said Siptu sought increases higher than those discussed at the WRC.

Transdev later said that, based on the meeting yesterday afternoon, it was apparent that there is no basis for any talks or other intervention in the dispute at this point.

Last Friday, the company issued an invitation for the union to attend talks with chief executive Gerry Madden. On the same day, Siptu served notice of five more days of strikes.

The strike action dates are April 28, May 4, 13, and 20. In addition, a four-hour work stoppage starting at 3pm will take place on May 24, while another 24-hour strike will take place on May 27.

Transdev chief Gerry Madden said the latest strike notice showed a continuing disregard by Siptu for Luas customers.

Eroded

He warned that the company "cannot stand still" while its challenging financial position is "further eroded". The company will take legal advice on the courses of action open to it.

"Transdev signposted to staff (two weeks ago) that if the action persists then not only will it be unable to deal with a claim for pay progression, it will have to initiate discussions with staff to align our existing cost base with available resources," he said.

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