Rail strike set to cause chaos on October bank holiday weekend

The October bank holiday weekend chosen by rail unions for the first of two three-hour stoppages is one of the busiest periods of the year for Irish Rail meaning it will impact an even greater number of business and leisure commuters, the rail company has warned.

Siptu and the National Bus and Rail Union confirmed their members will not operate trains between 6am and 9am on October 23 — the Friday of the bank holiday weekend — and for the same hours on November 6. The stoppages will affect Dart, commuter, and inter-city services.

The action is over, what unions say, is the refusal by Irish Rail management to discuss drivers’ past productivity as required under an agreement signed in September 2014 under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, when the company introduced temporary pay cuts in the face of its poor financial position. The company disputes that, claiming last year’s agreement said issues around productivity were “completely separate”.

It said drivers are asking for monies which would wipe out the sacrifice made by its 3,700 employees who took the temporary pay reduction last year. It said the three-hour stoppages would have an effect beyond the duration of action as train sets and crews would be out of place for following services.

Meanwhile, there is also industrial action brewing at Dublin Bus. According to the National Bus and Rail union, which represents drivers along with Siptu, the company has said it is not in a position to concede on a flat rate pay claim which it lodged for drivers in both April 2014 and January 2015.

NBRU said the company said any increase would have to be funded through productivity. The union said it told the company such a scenario would have “inevitable consequences” with regards to industrial action.


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