Groups in Luas dispute invited for further WRC talks on Friday

Kieran Mulvey says drivers and management are "still far apart"

Luas, talks, WRC, drivers, pay claim, strike, Kieran Mulvey, talks, Workplace Relations Commission, SIPTU

Inactive Luas trams at the Red Cow depot | Image:

The head of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) says two groups involved in the Luas dispute are willing to negotiate.

But Kieran Mulvey also says the tram drivers and the company are "significantly still far apart".

Groups have been invited back to the WRC for further talks on Friday.

"What we would feel is there's a bit of time still before any escalation of this dispute, beyond that which has already been announced, for maybe wise counsel to prevail on both sides", he told Newstalk Breakfast.

It comes amid concerns the Dublin transport system could grind to a halt within weeks, after SIPTU said it was considering balloting members for an indefinite stoppage.

Pay talks broke down on Monday night, despite workers almost halving their salary demands of 53%.

While Luas operator Transdev says the revised position is still "significantly beyond the company", but that it does provide a basis for further discussions.

"We are anxious to progress matters with these groups under the auspices of the WRC and further meetings will be scheduled as soon as can be arranged", Transdev says in a statement.

"However, the ‘bottom line’ positions put forward by the drivers and traffic supervisors do not provide any realistic basis for negotiations", it adds.

Luas staff are set to hold more strikes on March 17th - St Patrick's Day - and across Easter weekend.

Kieran Muley of the WRC told Breakfast there is only one place to solve this dispute.