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Bid to halt a second 48-hour rail strike

DESPERATE Labour Relations talks will continue today in a bid to avert a threatened second strike by rail workers.

Over 2,100 rail workers are expected to walk off the job next weekend as planned, despite the intervention by the Labour Relations Commission (LRC).

On Saturday both sides in the dispute - Irish Rail and workers' union SIPTU - put forward their submissions to the LRC's talks, headed by Kevin Foley.

The talks, described as a "fact-finding mission", lasted for four hours and will reconvene later today at 12 noon.


Irish Rail representatives said the talks were constructive.

However, both the company and the union have agreed that there can be no final deal unless the Government intervenes.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has so far refused to step into the dispute, but is expected to be briefed on the situation today by the LRC.

The National Bus and Railworkers' Union (NBRU) said that its position on next weekend's strike had not changed.

"We have not been asked to do anything that would undermine our current position," said NBRU General Secretary Dermot O'Leary.

The strike has been pencilled in for next Sunday and Monday which will affect fans attending the All-Ireland hurling final as well as commuters and schoolgoers on Monday.

Sports Minister Michael Ring appealed for all parties to consider the impact the strike will have on ordinary GAA fans.

If there is no agreement at the LRC, unions have pledged to press ahead with another strike on September 21, on the All-Ireland football decider.

Senior SIPTU negotiator Owen Reidy pointed out that the Government's subvention to Irish Rail needs to be urgently examined if a truce is called.

"The issue of subvention is a fundamental issue here and has to be part of any solution," Mr Reidy said.

The row centres on pay cuts which were not agreed upon, but are still in place.

Three other unions at Irish Rail have accepted the cuts of between 1.7pc and 1.6pc.