Talks begin in effort to avert train strikes
TALKS aimed at resolving the dispute between Irish Rail and train drivers will begin today at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC).
The National Bus and Railworkers’ Union (NBRU) and Siptu have warned industrial action is on the cards unless progress is made in the area of pay and conditions.
Train drivers are adamant that they are prepared to strike and have warned they will target early-morning services in a move that will cause maximum disruption.
Workers claim they have been crippled by a recent wave of pay cuts. There is also a deep sense of concern about staff safety following a significant increase in violent and drunken incidents on board trains and in stations.
Concern also remains over the findings of a recent draft safety audit which found that near misses were going unreported because staff were fearful of being reprimanded.
The draft audit also warned of a sense of “mistrust” between staff and senior management at Irish Rail.
Last night, NBRU General Secretary Dermot O’Leary said there were a myriad of issues of concern for staff.
“The company is well aware that something has to give in terms of materially acknowledging the fact that staff have contributed enormously to the maintaining of service levels throughout the economic crisis, this despite a 38pc reduction in Government funding,” Mr O’Leary told the Herald.
An Irish Rail spokesman said the, “meeting is part of the ongoing processes under the auspices of the LRC to discuss productivity, with all grades of employees, including drivers”.
“We have committed under last year’s cost containment agreement to examining further productivity savings with our employees.
“We believe there is scope to identify measures which can yield verifiable savings and generate benefit for the company and employees alike, and will be engaging in the process in this spirit.”