Siptu has claimed that Luas operator Transdev is turning four-hour stoppages into 14-hour stoppages by refusing to pay drivers for whole shifts on the days in question.
Transdev managing director Gerry Madden has written to the drivers’ union reminding it that, more than a month ago, he informed employees if the strikes continued, the company would have to consider other options. They would include lay-offs without pay and short-time working and/or a reduction or elimination of pay on foot of partial performance of contracts of employment.
“If these four-hour strike actions take place on May 26 and June 2, 3, and 7 and employees do not commit in writing not to engage in strike action and “work to rule” and to working their full designated shifts in advance of the dates, we will no longer accept part performance of the duties required under employees’ contracts of employment and will not pay employees at all for any shifts on which the employees are rostered in circumstances where the employees engage in strike action for any part of those shifts,” he warned.
In relation to further stoppages planned for June 8, 9, and 10, he said the company was mindful they were dates on which State examinations were scheduled and it would be writing to employees separately about them.
“We are continuing to consider our position in relation to the other options open to us in respect of employees engaged in strike action and the ‘work to rule’, as detailed in our letters to employees of April 13,” he said.
“In addition, if any employee engages in unofficial industrial action, we will impose the full costs and losses associated with the unofficial action on employees involved in such action.”
Mr Madden said the company wanted a response from the employees or Siptu by May 20.
Siptu divisional organiser Owen Reidy said: “Every day there seems to be a new initiative to provoke and irritate staff.”
He said people were taking lawful industrial action et, if any part of their shift crossed over into the period of that action, they would lose all payment for that day.
Mr Reidy pointed out, for example on May 26, the action was from 3pm to 7pm. He said those drivers working on shifts which crossed into that period from either before 3pm or after 7pm would therefore not be paid so they would not work any of their shift. That meant, he said, the loss of service would be up to 14 hours on the day due to the actions of the company.
Meanwhile, on reports Transdev is to apply to run bus routes which are being put out to tender by the Government, Dermot O’Loughlin, general secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union said: “The NBRU objects in principle to the notion of privatising 10% of publicly-owned bus routes.
“Obviously our preference would be for the incumbent companies to continue to operate the routes. However, it seems bizarre that one state-owned company [French government’s Transdev] is bidding against another state-owned company [Dublin Bus] to operate these routes.
“Whilst not wishing to get involved in the minutiae of the Luas dispute, it is obvious that staff relations is an area that all potential bidders will have to factor into the tendering process if they desire to enter the unionised public transport sector.”
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