Unions enter final "make or break" negotiations with Iarnród Éireann

Unions have warned they will ballot for industrial action unless a credible offer is made today

Unions enter final "make or break" negotiations with Iarnród Éireann

File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

There could be a train strike in a matter of weeks if Iarnród Éireann fails to put a pay deal on the table today.

Unions have warned that today’s meeting with management at the Workplace Relations Commission is make or break.

Unions are calling for a wage increase of almost 4% - and the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) general secretary Dermot O'Leary has warned that it is time management put a firm offer on the table.

“Unless Irish Rail make a credible offer today then we will immediately ballot our members for industrial action,” he said.

“You could have a situation where, unless something gives today, that you will have industrial action on trains as near as mid-October.

“This is a company by the way who have been out over recent weeks, fan-faring record revenue numbers and record passenger numbers.”

He said morale at Iarnród Éireann is “at an all-time low in terms of trying to achieve a pay rise.”

“Unless the company are serious about how they are going to treat their staff going forward, that low morale is going to transfer into industrial action unfortunately,” he said.

The other major union involved in the discussions, SIPTU, warned that there has been little headway in the talks so far.

Paul Cullen, the union’s divisional organiser, warned that progress must be made today.

“We have had a number of meetings at the WRC and to date the company have been posturing in relation to organisational change,” he said.

“Unless a pay offer is on the table today, and as I said this is the last opportunity to deal with that, we will then seek a mandate from our membership in relation to the dispute – either industrial action or strike action.”

Unions have noted that staff at Dublin Bus and Luas have already secured increase of approximately 3.75% per year.

However, Iarnród Éireann has warned that it is carrying accumulated debts of €160m adding that it would be negotiating with that in mind.