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Luas drivers to hold ballot on firm's €2 lunch subsidy offer

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Luas drivers have been offered fresh sandwiches

Luas drivers have been offered fresh sandwiches

Luas drivers have been offered fresh sandwiches

Luas drivers are set to ballot on a plan to put fresh sandwiches and ready meals in vending machines to end a long-running row over their lunch breaks.

They would also get a €2-a-meal subsidy under the new proposal - tabled by their employer Transdev to avoid industrial action.

Fears

The offer to add more food options - to the limited stock of chocolate and crisps provided in the machines - was made following a meeting between trade union Siptu and the tram operator last Friday week.

A meeting was called after the drivers narrowly voted against a plan that meant their food would be subsidised, but did not include an offer of better-stocked vending machines.

They previously turned down a proposal to keep their lunches fresh by using cooler bags in their cabs on the trams.

There were fears of industrial action after the row erupted, when drivers complained that they had to take breaks in depots without canteens.

They said there were limited facilities for taking breaks when the Green Line was extended cross-city two years ago.

The drivers' rosters meant they had to take breaks at the Broombridge depot rather than Sandyford, where they used to store their packed lunches in a fridge. They had previously returned to Sandyford for their lunch before the line was extended.

The Red Line has a canteen at the Red Cow depot, but there is nothing similar on the Green Line. They also complained that it was difficult to find anywhere to buy takeaway lunches along the route during their 30-minute lunch break.

A subsidy per meal was offered on the basis that the Red Line's canteen at the Red Cow depot is subsidised.

Transdev argued that it would have to hire five extra drivers at a cost of €250,000 a year to allow staff to return to their original depot for lunch.

Dispute

The Labour Court said the drivers should accept it was reasonable to take breaks at depots other than the one they started from.

It recommended a risk assessment of the effectiveness of cooler bags.

This risk assessment, by a thermal engineer, found their lunches would stay safe for up to six hours in a closed and zipped cooler bag.

Luas drivers went on strike three years ago, forcing commuters to walk along track lines to get to work.


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