Luas bosses set for talks to try halt St Paddy's Day strike
Luas operator Transdev is to meet with union representatives this afternoon at the Work Relations Commission in a bid to prevent strike action by drivers on St Patrick's Day.
It comes as Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe is considering whether to alter his Spanish St Patrick's Day trip if the Luas strike goes ahead as planned.
Mr Donohoe is due to travel to Madrid on Wednesday - 24 hours before the planned strike.
While a spokeswoman for Mr Donohoe said his travel plans remain in place, it's understood this may change if the action proceeds.
Trade union Siptu said it is not concerned about the minister's travel arrangements and called on him to ask the Luas operators to engage in discussions with drivers.
Siptu divisional organiser Owen Reidy said further industrial action is avoidable.
"It is not about if the minister cancels his trip," he said.
"What it is really about is coming out and telling Transdev that because they have a state contract there is an onus on them to come out and talk to their staff.
"Any further industrial action, including St Patrick's Day, is entirely avoidable. It needs people to sit down and talk but we do not have a willing partner on the other side."
Transdev said it was looking forward to engaging in the talks this week but said private buses had been ordered as a contingency measure to collect passengers from park-and-ride Luas stops to bring customers to the city centre during Thursday's strikes.
A spokesperson confirmed that the buses will only link the park-and-ride stops on the red and green lines with the city centre.
They will not operate between other Luas stops.
Siptu described the contingency measure as "provocative".
"We think the company should be spending their time trying to reach a resolution with their staff rather than spending time, effort and money hiring buses," said Mr Reidy.
"That is not a satisfactory way to ensure your customers have a proper service."
Mr Donohoe yesterday told RTE the special bus service planned to beat the strike action is an "exceptional fall-back measure for the country's national holiday".