herald

Friday 18 August 2017

Luas strike called off - but the price of peace is set to be around €4m

Commuters heading to town along the Luas tracks following the recent strike (INM)
Commuters heading to town along the Luas tracks following the recent strike (INM)

The price of peace in the Luas dispute is an estimated €4m after a deal was brokered to ensure there is no strike during today's St Patrick's Day celebrations.

But the trade-off is that the tram workers will have to meet the cost of pay rises of up to 18pc over almost three years by more flexible work practices, including a crackdown on fare dodgers.

The fact that the pay increases will not be retrospective and that many other demands have been shelved, will also dramatically reduce the cost of the pay package.

The initial pay claim lodged with Transdev for increases up to 53.8pc was set to cost €30m.

Demanded

The company, which does not have the power to increase fares, has argued it cannot afford the increases after losing €700,000 last year. But sources at talks to broker the deal revealed it demanded that the pay increases, above 1pc per year, be funded through changes to work practices.

Despite the deal, there is no certainty that strikes will not take place over the Easter weekend or four days next month, as workers have still to ballot on the proposals next week.

Voting takes place on Wednesday and Thursday.

Siptu said its acceptance was not guaranteed, but the increases ranging from 8pc to 18pc over 33 months are likely to be attractive to drivers.

It has agreed to further productivity changes in principle, but the finer details still have to be worked out.

A crackdown on fare evaders by ticket inspectors and longer working hours for drivers to make savings on rosters for the new Luas extension are part of the deal that has been negotiated.

Marathon

The package was hammered out during a marathon bargaining session at the Workplace Relations Commission.

The deal was reached shortly before 1pm yesterday. Siptu and Transdev announced the threatened strike action had been averted following 27 hours of talks.

Control room staff have still not reached agreement, after demanding that pay rises should be frontloaded.

However, this will not affect services running today.

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