Irish Rail strike: Transport Minister calls for 'realistic' efforts to address issues

Intercity, DART and Commuter will not operate tomorrow on the first of five days of planned industrial action

Irish Rail strike: Transport Minister calls for 'realistic' efforts to address issues

File photo: RollingNews.ie

The Transport Minister Shane Ross has called on Irish Rail and unions to take part in 'constructive and realistic' negotiations.

It comes ahead of the first day of industrial action by union members at the transport company, with further stoppages scheduled for November 7th, 14th and 23rd & December 8th.

All Intercity, DART and Commuter services have been cancelled tomorrow, with Iarnród Éireann saying around 150,000 passengers are due to be impacted.

Workers are calling for a pay increase of 3.75% a year for the next three years, with unions saying staff have not been awarded a pay rise since 2008.

Barry Kenny from Irish Rail says giving the amount the workers want would sink the company, suggesting: "We're in a very difficult financial situation.

"We're trying to address the pay claim while not sending the company to insolvency."

 

In a statement this evening, Minister Ross said: "I sincerely call on the parties to the Iarnród Éireann pay dispute to continue to use the services of the Labour Court and the WRC.

"It is important for the travelling public – and also for the staff and for the company itself – that public transport continues, and that the dispute is resolved in a realistic, fair and sustainable manner."

Unions, meanwhile, are warning that the situation could further escalate if there is no 'meaningful engagement' from management.

Unite Regional Officer Willie Quigley explained: "Neither Irish Rail management nor Minister Ross should be in any doubt that this dispute could escalate beyond the five strike days already planned unless a serious attempt is made to engage meaningfully with unions."

He added that management must "return to the negotiating table with a serious offer" - and argued that the Government's "failure to commit to a properly funded public transport system" is a root cause of recent pay disputes & industrial action at Irish Rail, Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus.