Thursday 27 October 2016

More bank holiday chaos as cuts to DART services follow rail strikes


Rail strike in Dublin
Rail strike in Dublin

There will be further disruptions for Dublin commuters this bank holiday weekend as there will be no DART services north of Pearse station today, tomorrow and Monday.

This follow yesterday's three-hour rail strike, which left 40,000 morning commuters stranded or having to make alternative arrangements.

This weekend, rail passengers for Drogheda or Dundalk will be served by a bus transfer between Malahide and Connolly. Normal services will resume on Tuesday morning.

There will also be disruption to services between Hazelhatch and Monasterevin from 9pm this evening until 11am tomorrow morning.

Some Heuston services will have bus transfers while others will have different departure times.

A spokesperson for Irish Rail, Jane Cregan, said a notice about the revised schedules had been on their website for the last week and posters had been up in various stations for two weeks. It comes as participants in the Dublin City Marathon will be making their way to the capital this weekend for Monday's race.

"As for the Dublin City Marathon, Irish Rail wouldn't have operated services early enough on Bank Holiday Monday to get runners into the city centre for the start of the race at 9am, so the disruptions won't affect them," Ms Cregan told the Herald.

Meanwhile, bus and Luas drivers are preparing for the prospect of strike action this winter as tensions over pay and conditions sweep through the transport sector.


Thousands of workers could potentially down tools at different stages in the coming months, in what union leaders are describing as a "winter of discontent".

A further wave of strike action by the country's rail workers is likely to go ahead on Friday, November 6, in a move that the loss-making Irish Rail warns will put its finances in further jeopardy.

All Intercity, DART and commuter services were brought to a standstill for three hours yesterday. The strike action took place after lengthy talks at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) broke down without resolution.

But it has emerged that union leaders are considering escalating their strike plans beyond November 6, when further work stoppages between the hours of 6-9am is planned.

The Herald has learnt that a full day of strike action is on the cards as union figures warn of an "erosion" of trust with Irish Rail.

The row has stemmed from a dispute over what the two unions involved claim is the company's failure to reward "past productivity".

However, Irish Rail has insisted that the company's offer of a 7.9pc increase in earnings between February 2016 and January 2018 is more than reasonable, given it is a loss-making company.

A train driver, who did not wish to be identified, told this newspaper "a lot of drivers are so unhappy they want to be redeployed from driving duties.

"The company reneged on promises to recognise past productivity. Things have gone a bit sour."

Dermot O'Leary, General Secretary of the National Bus and Railworkers' Union (NBRU), said the level of trust between workers and the company is at its lowest point in 20 years.

"Some of the things we have seen at the discussions can only be described as Thatcherite," he said.

Speaking last night, Irish Rail spokesman Barry Kenny said the strike action yesterday is set to cost the company up to €500,000.

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