Another Irish Rail strike looms after unions overwhelmingly reject staff pay proposals
“Our members will not be found wanting in delivering a fair, swift and justifiable response.”
SIPTU and IBRU, the unions representing Irish Rail drivers, have overwhelmingly rejected a Labour Court recommendation concerning pay and productivity measures at the company.
In a ballot counted on Wednesday, 10 January at Liberty Hall in Dublin, SIPTU members voted by 83% to 17% to reject a recommendation that would have delivered an immediate 1.15% pay increase to drivers on top of the 7.5% increase to all employees over three years agreed in December.
SIPTU organiser Paul Cullen said that the result of the ballot was an indication of the level of dissatisfaction amongst Irish Rail drivers and that there was a severe lack of confidence in the ability of management at Irish Rail to resolve the issues of SIPTU members.
Cullen also promised to deliver “a fair, swift and justifiable response” if there was an attempt by Irish Rail management to provoke a dispute with drivers; two Irish Rail strikes were carried out in November, with a further two strikes postponed at the last minute as the unions agreed to consult members on the recommendations of the Labour Court.
“Our members are facing continuous change in a company that is acting in a non-compliant way with regard to agreements made with union representatives. This is unacceptable,” said Cullen.
“There is a severe lack of confidence in management’s ability to resolve the issues our members face. This result means the ball is now firmly in management’s court and their actions over the coming days will determine whether or not a fair and speedy resolution can be found. However, if management attempts to provoke a dispute, our members will not be found wanting in delivering a fair, swift and justifiable response.”
Dermot O'Leary, General Secretary of the NBRU, said that the onus was on both sides to reflect the result of the ballot and warned that "any unilateral action by Irish Rail management will inevitably cause a reaction".
@DermotLeary NBRU Train Drivers reject Proposal to move from a Voluntarist system of training to one which would become Compulsory.
Onus now on both sides to reflect on result of Ballot. Any unilateral action by Irish Rail management will inevitably cause a reaction.
— DermotoLeary NBRU GS (@DermotLeary) January 10, 2018
Irish Rail issued a statement on Wednesday to express regret at the decision by SIPTU and NBRU to reject the Labour Court recommendations.
The statement said that that the agreement would have enabled Irish Rail to ensure driver training could be completed and guaranteed into the future, that it would have allowed for much-needed service expansion and that it would have given drivers an increase of almost 35% in the allowance for driver mentoring.
Irish Rail added that the non-cooperation with driver mentoring orchestrated by trade unions over the past 20 months has resulted in repeated delays to the introduction of an increased 10-minute DART frequency and prevented expansion in other services, including off-peak commuter services.
The statement concluded by saying that management at Irish Rail will urgently consider the outcome of the ballot.