Saturday 16 December 2017

Train strike looms after LRC talks collapse

Dermot O'Leary, NBRU
Dermot O'Leary, NBRU

RAIL strikes could hit the capital 'within weeks' as talks between Irish Rail bosses and trade unions collapsed at the Labour Relations Commission.

Trade unions Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) confirmed last night that the discussions regarding productivity at the company had broken down last night.

Both unions have warned that industrial action was a distinct possibility if progress is not made in the area of pay and working conditions.

The NBRU said the talks broke down as "the company was not willing to engage on the past productivity element" from a 2014 LRC agreement.


There are indications that both sides are open to further discussions to avert action.

Train drivers claim they are facing demands for increased productivity, despite suffering pay cuts.

Dermot O'Leary, general secretary of the NBRU, said it is "disappointing to think that the company is reneging on this vital component of the document". He also confirmed that the threat of industrial action has become "more real".

However, Barry Kenny from Irish Rail has said the company is losing €1m each month and a more sensible approach is required.

"We have to identify verifiable cost savings," said Kenny.

"If we weren't to do that, it would damage job security and the service we provide to customers. We need a sensible approach and we are available, still, to talk."

Sources previously said that they were prepared to strike at morning rush hour, which would cause maximum disruption for rail commuters.

A meeting of the joint Loco Drivers Committee will be convened next week to decide their next move.

Mr O'Leary said the collapse of the talks on their first day now makes the "prospect of industrial action ever more real".

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