Rail boss warns staff of damage caused by strikes

The chief executive of Iarnród Éireann has told staff that prolonged strike at the company will lead to “damage to our customers, our business, and your income”, and has urged unions to re-enter talks aimed at resolving the pay dispute.

The call came ahead of today’s 24-hour work stoppage, the second such strike this month, brought about by the deadlocked pay talks.

Further strike action across all Intercity, Dart, and commuter routes are planned for November 14, November 23, and December 8.

Unions say workers have not received a pay rise in almost a decade, and are seeking a 3.75% pay increase, without any associated productivity measures.

They say staff are effectively subsidising an underfunded public service that has seen its subvention cut by 41%, from 2008 to 2013.

However, Iarnród Éireann has offered a 1.75% increase, accompanied by productivity measures, and has warned that it is facing insolvency if it suffers further losses.

Iarnród Éireann CEO David Franks issued a memo to staff yesterday in which he claimed that “since last week’s day of action there has been no formal communication from any of the trade unions, this despite our willingness to refer matters back to the Labour Court”.

“A prolonged dispute, which has been suggested in the media, will result in thousands of euros lost to each employee, and would mean that our ability to fund any increase in earnings could be completely undermined,” he warned. “Despite our financial predicament, we want to be in a position to deliver an improvement in earnings to you.

“We do not want you to suffer further losses and to see your job security threatened through insolvency. It is now time for our trade unions to join with the company in seeking a referral to the Labour Court, and I ask you to support this approach.”

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