Irish Rail to sack striking maintenance staff

IRISH Rail is to sack line maintenance staff holding up work upgrade works to the Cork-Cobh line.

The company says the small group of Cork-based “permanent way” staff have maintained an unofficial industrial action beginning two weeks ago at Glounthaune and that action has now caused the deferment of the line improvements.

Last month the rail workers went to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) claiming it was their job to lay the track. However, the LRC decided the work should be carried out by the appointed contractor and staff at Iarnród Éireann’s new works’ department.

Following concern that line inspection staff might interrupt the work, Iarnród Éireann returned to the LRC to reaffirm the ruling.

Despite the confirmation, around 13 workers mounted a round-the-clock picket on the existing railway track at Glounthaune.

“The interruption to Iarnród Éireann upgrade projects in the Munster region adds to the delay already being created by the unofficial strike to the development of the Glounthaune–Midleton project,” said an Irish Rail spokeswoman.

“Against this background Irish Rail are preparing to take action against these unofficial strikers. This is likely to include dismissal of those involved and may also include legal action.”

Over the last few days informal contact has been made between management and union officials as well as the Labour Relations Commission which brokered an agreement concerning work arrangements for the Cork– Cobh upgrade and for the development of the Glounthaune–Midleton project. However, the spokeswoman said those negotiations had not proved successful.

“The main impediment to resolving the situation is the defiant action of this small group of Cork based workers,” said the spokeswoman.

“No talks can take place, either directly or with the LRC, while this unofficial action continues.”

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