Monday 24 October 2016

Public faces travel chaos as Luas strike called for St Patrick's Day

A Luas departing St Stephen’s Green in Dublin city
A Luas departing St Stephen’s Green in Dublin city

Luas workers have planned another strike action - this time on St Patrick's Day.

Thousands of people hoping to watch the annual parade on March 17 will face major transport disruption.

Siptu has served notice of 24-hour strikes on Tuesday, March 8 and Thursday, March 17 in the dispute over pay rises and better working conditions.

A second 48-hour work stoppage on Thursday and Friday this week is set to go ahead.

Siptu has insisted that staff will not suspend industrial action, even if it enters talks.

Up to 90,000 passengers suffered severe disruption last week after the first strike on the red and green lines in the history of the service.

Siptu has warned that the strikes will escalate unless a deal is reached with tram operator Transdev on a "significant" pay rise.

It has rejected the company's offer of wage increases of between 1pc and 3pc.

Sources indicated it is likely to demand at least 5pc to move towards agreement.

Workers want pay rises between 8.5pc and 53.8pc. Other demands include a 10pc bonus and double time for overtime.

"The likelihood is that more days of strikes will be announced unless this is resolved," said Siptu official Willie Noone.

He said there is no sign of the Workplace Relations Commission intervening to try to resolve the row as both sides are so far apart.

Transdev said St Patrick's Day is one of the busiest days of the year for the Luas and it brings "a whole new audience to Dublin".

Its managing director said "sensible voices need to be heard".

He dismissed the pay claims as "extreme".


"I am shocked and disappointed to learn that Luas employees plan on stopping the service not just this week, but on Tuesday March 8 and St Patrick's Day, all in pursuance of their pay claims," said Gerry Madden.

He warned that not only were Siptu's "unjustified" claims threatening the company and Luas customers, its actions would have serious adverse effects on businesses and tourism.

He said his staff's action would affect thousands of families who use Luas to travel into and out of the parade, as well as other events in the city associated with the St Patrick's Day festival.

However, Siptu argues that staff will be tied into whatever deal is negotiated for five years and so it wants an offer that goes some way towards meeting pay rise demands of between 8pc and 54pc.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe, said the announcement of further strike action was extremely disappointing - especially for the 100,000 overseas visitors who will travel to Dublin to help celebrate the national holiday.

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