Irish Rail accuses union of 'intemperate outburst' over letter sent to drivers

Irish Rail has today defended its decision to send letters to employees detailing its position in the current industrial dispute.

Irish Rail accuses union of 'intemperate outburst' over letter sent to drivers

The move drew criticism from the National Bus & Rail Union (NBRU), which called it “an insult to a workforce” and accused the company of trying to undermine trade unions.

Workers at both Siptu and the NBRU are due to engage in a second three-hour stoppage on the morning of Friday, November 6 as part of a long-running row over pay for productivity and cost-cutting measures.

NBRU general secretary Dermot O'Leary said: "Writing directly to staff in this fashion, designed as it is, to undermine the trade unions, who are after all directly representing their members is counter-productive and will not get us one jot closer to a resolution of this dispute.

Irish Rail accuses union of 'intemperate outburst' over letter sent to drivers

“Our members are furious at this intervention and see it as an insult to a workforce that have fully cooperated in improving the rail network in this country over the last decade.

“The only reasonable way of getting a resolution here is for all stakeholders to fully engage on all of the issues, attempting to disenfranchise workers’ representatives is bringing a distasteful element to this dispute”

“We remain wedded to the view that there is a reluctance on the company side to fully engage on all of the issues at the heart of this dispute, trying to side-line the trade unions in writing directly to train drivers is, to us, systematic of what we have been experiencing at the company over recent times.”

In a response to Mr O’Leary’s statement this evening, Barry Kenny, corporate communications manager with Irish Rail, speculated that the union’s “intemperate outburst” may have been provoked by internal pressure within the union.

Irish Rail accuses union of 'intemperate outburst' over letter sent to drivers

“Iarnród Éireann will always communicate with its employees on matters of importance, and will not be seeking NBRU permission or approval to do so,” the statement read.

“Our drivers are members of the Iarnród Éireann [Irish Rail] workforce before they become members of any trade union.

“It may be that this intemperate outburst reflects pressure on the NBRU from within to explain why the proposals which we had offered, which would have led to an increase in driver earnings of up to 7.9% through productivity proposals, were not allowed to be put to drivers by the NBRU and SIPTU negotiating teams.

“As the chief executive said in his letter to drivers: ‘The savings and allowances proposed are real and deliverable and I hope we can work collectively to deliver these to improve earnings for drivers, to help achieve a sustainable future for Iarnród Éireann, and most importantly to continue to provide a transport service which can grow to meet the needs of our customers’.”

He said that the company remains willing to negotiate in an effort to avert further strikes, however.

"We are available to re-engage, through the Workplace Relations Commission, or through any arm of the industrial relations machinery, because we all know it’s only discussion that's going to avoid further disruption."

More on this topic

Train drivers accepted proposals for new round of negotiationsTrain drivers accepted proposals for new round of negotiations

SIPTU to ballot train drivers on Labour Court proposalsSIPTU to ballot train drivers on Labour Court proposals

Rail-strike talks to resume as three-hour stoppage looms tomorrowRail-strike talks to resume as three-hour stoppage looms tomorrow

Union chiefs threaten repeat of today's travel chaos


More in this Section

Fine Gael propose greater scrutiny for opposition's spending pledgesFine Gael propose greater scrutiny for opposition's spending pledges

Sinn Féin gains ground in opinion pollSinn Féin gains ground in opinion poll

Engagement ring stolen in break-in at pensioner’s homeEngagement ring stolen in break-in at pensioner’s home

Archbishop pays tribute to Seamus HegartyArchbishop pays tribute to Seamus Hegarty


Lifestyle

For an instant supper or lunch, fishcakes can be nourishing, warming and tasty. To complete a balanced meal, all it takes is some stirfried or roasted root vegetables.Taste of the sea: Top 8 fish cakes

My seven-year-old stood tall, whispered “bravery” to herself and stepped into the pitch-black dungeon. I stood there and watched her disappear.Learner Dad: I hate nostalgia, I think it’s mawkish and sentimental

Dr Phil Kieran says head lice is incredibly common among school children and offers practical advice on how to remove the crawlers with easy treatments.Tackling head lice: Easy treatments to remove itchy creepers

Gráinne Healy only started running regularly a few years ago. She’s already completed 50 parkruns. She tells Rowena Walsh what motivates her.Ageing with Attitude: Parkruns and quiet Friday nights

More From The Irish Examiner