Unions and management at Iarnród Éireann will this morning enter talks at the Labour Court to trying to avert further crippling strikes in the coming days, writes Stephen Rogers
Up to 300,000 people have so far been affected by two 24-hour stoppages in recent weeks. Further stoppages, due to be held on November 14 and 23 and December 8, have not been called off while the Labour Court talks are held. The strikes could escalate if no agreement is reached.
Dermot O’Leary, general secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union said the intransigence of rail management “with tacit support from the Department of Transport” would make it harder to find an overall resolution to the dispute. Iarnród Éireann management said it had been consistent in its position that the industrial relations machinery of the State provided the only forum where the current issues could be addressed and resolved.
The unions have demanded 3.75% pay increases without productivity measures, while the company, citing potential insolvency if further losses are suffered, has only been willing to concede increases of 1.75% with productivity measures attached.
Earlier this week, it warned a prolonged dispute would result in thousands of euros lost to each employee and would undermine its ability to fund any increase in earnings.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.