The likelihood of an all-out, indefinite strike by Luas workers has now become a distinct possibility, after operator of the light-rail service, Transdev, put staff on protective notice.
The firm has given staff until April 17 to accept a pay offer which is significantly less than the increases of up to 18% over 36 months, which workers turned down earlier this month.
Instead, the company has proposed a deal which is 10% — 2% on acceptance, 2% in January 2017, 3% in January 2018, and 3% in January 2019. There is no longer the offer of a long service increment.
Transdev said in view of the strikes to date and the further strikes threatened, it was putting staff on protective notice with immediate effect, adding that their employment would be on a day-to-day basis “until further notice”.
“As much notice for lay-off or short-time working will be given as is reasonably possible in the circumstances,” managing director Gerry Madden wrote in a letter to staff union Siptu.
He said during work-to rule, significant duties were not being carried out.
“We will no longer accept part performance of the contract and we are putting drivers and supervisor staff on notice of our intention to apply an appropriate financial reduction,” he said.
“If a staff member on request refuses to carry out an instruction to perform any duties that are an integral part of their contract of employment or the company/union agreement, they will be deemed to have temporarily removed themselves from the payroll pending a resolution of this dispute.”
He said the loss of the staff 6.5% service continuity bonus had offset the costs of strikes so far, but said that offset would be exhausted by April 24, the weekend when the next strike is due. He said if the action goes on beyond that date, Transdev reserved the right to recoup costs through pay deductions from those who continued to strike.
Siptu accused Transdev of escalating the dispute “by breaking off all talks and threatening our members’ livelihoods”.
“This move makes a negotiated settlement to this dispute even more remote,” said divisional organiser Owen Reidy. “In the letter the company proposes that members should consider an offer to resolve the dispute that is inferior to a proposal from the Workplace Relations Commission that was rejected by 99% of staff.
“Unfortunately, it is quite clear the company is in no mood to resolve the dispute.
“Siptu will support its members against their employer’s actions and is now considering a ballot for an all-out strike.”
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