Taoiseach calls on all sides in rail dispute to return to talks

Leo Varadkar has pointed out that rail workers did not face any pay cuts during the recession

Taoiseach calls on all sides in rail dispute to return to talks

Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

The Taoiseach has called on all sides in the rail dispute to head to the Labour Court to resolve the ongoing strike.

Thousands of commuters are facing a longer than usual journey home this evening - as Iarnród Éireann workers engage in the second of five planned stoppages as part of a dispute over pay.

There are three more planned days of industrial action in the coming weeks - the first of which will affect football fans heading to the Ireland v Denmark World Cup playoff in the Aviva Stadium.

Speaking this afternoon, Leo Varadkar noted that rail workers did not face any pay cuts during the recession.

He said the State's industrial relations institutes are the correct places to put forward pay rise claims:

"The way Government intervenes in these disputes is not through Ministerial intervention - that has not been the case for a very long time," he said.

"I know that the Labour Court and the WRC will be willing to intervene in this dispute if they believe there is sufficient willingness from both management and unions to come to an agreement.

"I hope that willingness exists and if it does, I am sure there will be a Labour Court intervention."

Iarnród Éireann has said it has offered a 1.75% increase for one year to employees.

However, workers are calling for a pay increase of 3.75% a year for the next three years - with unions warning that staff have not been awarded a pay rise since 2008.

Management  have urged unions to engage in further talks, instead of "threatening further days of industrial action."

Unions, meanwhile, have described the latest work stoppage as "regrettable but inevitable".

This rail worker at Heuston Station told Newstalk that there is nothing to be gained from going back to the WRC at the moment:

Information on the disruption can be found here