90,000 commuters face chaos as Luas strike begins

Up to 90,000 commuters face travel disruption as a two-day Luas strike begins today.
90,000 commuters face chaos as Luas strike begins

The strike over pay started at 5.30am this morning and with normal services resuming on Saturday at 6.30am. A repeat two-day strike is already planned for next week, on February 18 and 19.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said he has no power to offer Luas operator Transdev more money to meet drivers’ demands for pay rises which run from 8% to 53%, depending on length of employment.

“If this action goes ahead as planned, significant disruption will be caused to those who have come to depend on Luas to get to work and about their daily business,” he said.

Mr Donohoe said the planned action did not “serve the company, the staff or service users well”.

Negotiations have previously broken down following hearings at the Labour Court and the Workplace Relations Commission.

The strike has the support of 99% of drivers, traffic supervisors, revenue protection officers, and supervisors in the Siptu trade union.

Luas union representatives claim the company pay scales mean drivers can work for nine years and hit a salary of €42,247 compared with €47,941 for traffic supervisors. They claim the operators are returning profits each year and have asked for €10,000 pay rises for traffic supervisors, increases of 10% to 14% for the revenue protection officers and supervisors who check tickets, and hikes for the 172 drivers which would take their top level of pay to €64,993.

Transdev said the claims would cost more than €20m over five years.

It is planning for normal service to resume at 6.30am on Saturday and apologised to customers for the inconvenience.

Meanwhile, staff operating one of the 999 emergency call answering centres have confirmed they will conduct a 12-hour strike on the day before the general election.

The Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) confirmed the stoppage will begin at 8am on 25 February and will end at 8pm.

The union has decided to only stage a work stoppage in the Navan 999 centre. The other centres in Ballyshannon and Dublin will operate as normal.

It has indicated to employer Conduit Global that it remains to open to dialogue with a view to resolving the issues at the centre of this dispute.

Workers are calling for

  • A Living Wage of €11.50 per hour;
  • An immediate end to unnecessary and punitive suspensions, and the negotiation of a fair Corrective Action Policy;
  • A fair on-call policy;
  • Collective bargaining.

In a statement, BT Ireland, which runs the service, said there was “absolutely no necessity for industrial action”. It said it understood that Conduit Global had been working very closely with employees to address their concerns and significant progress has been made in the past three weeks.

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