The 10% pay cut imposed on Luas drivers from yesterday has made them more resolved and united than ever, their union representative claims.
Luas operator Transdev had given the drivers until 4am yesterday to end their industrial action, otherwise pay cuts would be imposed.
Just a few hours before that deadline, a meeting of up to 140 drivers was held and, according to Siptu divisional organiser, Owen Reidy, the consensus was that the move had united the drivers even more.
“If the company hoped to exploit some perceived chink of weakness, there was certainly no sign of one last night,” he said.
“They felt that this attempt by the company in recent days was to demonise the elected shop-stewards and to try to create a division among the driver grade. It certainly backfired. The move was counterproductive because the drivers are even more frustrated and angry but very calm and resolved to see this through.”
While the drivers retain the option of an all-out strike, the likelihood is they will continue with work-stoppages with more four-hour and 24-hour stoppages likely. There are already five dates arranged for May, starting with a 24-hour stoppage on Wednesday.
It will be at the end of next month, May 26, that drivers will receive their first pay cheques with the 10% cut.
Mr Reidy told Newstalk he could see the dispute going into June, July, and beyond. He said shop stewards would sit down in the coming days to decide on their next course of action.
Luas drivers originally demanded pay rises of up to 53%. During talks at the Workplace Relations Commission, that was reduced almost by half and the commission issued a recommendation which equated to up to 18.7% of an increase.
However, that recommendation was almost unanimously rejected.
The company then went on the offensive, putting staff on protective notice and warning of people being removed from payroll and pay cuts if the action continued.
It also proposed a much-reduced pay offer of 10%. Subsequently a deal was done with non-driver grades which saw them agree to rises of up to 13% over three years. They are no longer taking part in industrial action, though their roles are compromised by the lack of drivers on strike days.
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