Train drivers to be balloted

Thousands of commuters could face travel disruption following a decision by train driver unions to ballot for industrial action after talks with Iarnród Éireann broke down last week.

The National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and Siptu confirmed they would next week seek a mandate from driver members for action that could include stoppages on Dart, commuter, and national rail services.

The move comes following a breakdown in talks last week at the Labour Relations Commission. The LRC talks centred on part of a deal hammered out last September, when drivers agreed to a pay cut over 25 months. The deal at that point, unions say, referenced recognition of past productivity.

The unions say Iarnród Éireann is refusing to honour that section of the deal.

NBRU general secretary Dermot O’Leary accused Iarnród Éireann of “attempting to apply Thatcherite- style solutions to industrial relations issues”.

“The anger among train drivers has been exacerbated by the response of the company following last week’s debacle at the LRC,” Mr O’Leary said.

“Shutting down debate or refusing to engage in an LRC conciliation is not how normal industrial relations are practiced.”

Iarnród Éireann, which has claimed it continues to lose over €1m a month, said last Tuesday that agreement was unable to be reached on “increasing pay to drivers for a range of historic issues some of which date back 15 years”. It added: “We offered to refer the matter to the Labour Court for recommendation but this was declined despite agreed procedures.”


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