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Monday 23 October 2017

Tuesday's Luas strike called off as crunch talks are set to take place to end the dispute

Commuters during the last Luas strike walk on the tracks to get to work during rush hour. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Commuters during the last Luas strike walk on the tracks to get to work during rush hour. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Commuter chaos has been averted as next Tuesday's planned Luas strike will no longer go ahead.

Luas drivers had planned a stoppage for next week in a row over pay and working conditions.

However, Luas operator Transdev and Siptu have agreed to sit down with the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) on Monday in an attempt to end the ongoing dispute.

This brings next week's strike to a halt, which will save thousands of commuters from making alternative transport arrangements.

Transdev and Siptu, which represents the light rail drivers, accepted the invitation to attend the crunch talks from the WRC yesterday.

Siptu had earlier written to Transdev to say its members were prepared to suspend next week's strike action to enable discussions to take place.

Transdev has acknowledged the talks will be "difficult and long", but welcomed the possibility of a resolution.

In a statement, it said: "Transdev anticipate these talks will be difficult and long - given the scale of the pay claim before the company and the expectations that have been created.

"Transdev, however, believe the WRC will create the framework for positive discussions and look forward to a resolution in the weeks to come."

Luas drivers went on strike over four days last month. Workers' representatives are looking for salary increases of 8pc-53pc, depending on the employees and their years of service. They are also seeking improvements in working conditions.

Transdev has argued that these claims are excessive and unsustainable, and more strikes have been planned for St Patrick's Day.

Siptu also served notice this week to hold further stoppages over the Easter Weekend. The planned stoppages on Easter Sunday and Monday could affect the city's plans for the 1916 Rising commemorations.

The announcement of talks has been welcomed by Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe, who called it a "positive step" for the Luas service "upon which tens of thousands of people rely".

"Strike action in recent weeks seriously inconvenienced commuters and cost local businesses and the company dearly.

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"The recent escalation of the dispute, which would see the service out of operation on important public holidays, will have a significant negative impact on our tourist industry and on the Dublin economy at what is a crucial time for our city.

"I hope that this signals an intention to resolve the matter so that regular services, without interruption, can be resumed."

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