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Tuesday 27 September 2016

Luas chief warns of cost-cutting if strikes continue

Transdev CEO Nigel Stevens
Transdev CEO Nigel Stevens

A top executive has warned Luas workers that cuts will be imposed in the company if strikes continue.

Nigel Stevens, chief executive officer of Transdev UK and Ireland, sent an open letter to staff ahead of further two-day strikes this weekend.

Mr Stevens said he visited "key stakeholders" in Dublin this week. He returned to the UK yesterday.

The Siptu union expressed dismay that Mr Stevens did not meet workers or union representatives and called on him to withdraw his threat of cutbacks.

Workers had voted to reject a pay rise brokered by the Workplace Relations Commission that would have meant pay rises of between 8pc and 18pc within less than three years.

"Transdev will not stand idly by while our already challenging financial position, which has been independently verified, is further eroded," stated Mr Stevens in his letter.

"We are resolute that the current demands are untenable and will not be countenanced, regardless of the nature and extent of industrial action that is notified to us," he said.

In a statement that appeared to warn of job cuts, he declared that if workers continue with strikes, the company will "take action in relation to our operating costs to protect our financial position", he said.

Pursuit

Siptu has threatened four one-day tram strikes this month in pursuit of an improved pay offer. Further stoppages are planned for April 23 and 24.

Siptu sector organiser Willie Noone said: "It is deeply disappointing and inexplicable that the CEO of Transdev, UK and Ireland would visit Dublin and not meet with Luas workers.

"He obviously does not view the Luas workers or their representatives as being key stakeholders worthy of meeting.

"At such a meeting he would have been informed why the Workplace Relations Commission proposals in relation to the Luas dispute were rejected overwhelmingly by workers in a recent ballot."

It is believed workers had hoped that Mr Stevens would intervene in the Dublin dispute to offer more money, as he did in a previous industrial relations dispute.

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