Luas drivers could face an additional financial penalty at the start of June if they continue with the current campaign of industrial action in pursuit of pay increases of up to 23%.
It is believed the company Transdev is seriously concerned about its financial position and has even sought advice from its parent company in Paris about how it should proceed with the situation.
Even before the current campaign of strikes by drivers had taken hold, Transdev had warned that it incurred a loss of €700,000 in 2015 and it was forecasting further losses for 2016.
Up to last Wednesday, there were 10 stoppages, which have resulted in €100,000 per day in fines imposed on Transdev for failing to deliver the service. That is on top of the revenue loss from failing to provide a service to an average of 90,000 passengers per day.
Sources have said the tensions in the depot are at an all-time high, with drivers determined to hold out for a 23% increase.
Several weeks ago, the company issued a communication to staff union Siptu and to its employees warning that workers were being put on protective notice, that their pay could be reduced to cover the cost of further industrial action, and that they could face being removed from the payroll if they refused to perform duties which were “an integral part of their contract”.
The company followed through on the threat of a pay reduction, with drivers due to see a 10% cut in their wages when they are next paid in a fortnight.
However, it is understood the company could increase that percentage from next month if the action is ongoing and there is no end in sight to the impasse. The company did signal when it announced the 10% reduction that it was only an “initial” percentage.
It is understood the company’s financial position means it cannot keep bearing the brunt of the revenue loss which results from the stoppages.
Already, four more strikes are planned for this month, the first of them next Friday.
There is also speculation that up to eight extra strike days could be announced for the month of June.
To date, in spite of the pay reduction, Luas drivers have resisted the urge to press ahead with a threatened all-out strike.
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