Luas operator to dock full day's wages from drivers taking part in four-hour strikes

Union accuses Transdev boss of spending more time "talking and plotting" than working to resolve dispute

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The Luas operator has confirmed it intends to deduct a full day’s wages from drivers taking part in part-day strikes next month.

Transdev managing director Gerry Madden told Newstalk's Pat Kenny Show that the company would not pay driver grade staff engaged in four-hour stoppages for any part of their shift.

Mr Madden said the planned action had been designed to cause maximum disruption to customers with minimum loss of pay to drivers.

In Transdev's view, he said, drivers taking to picket lines for four hours - what he called "a new tactic" - were only partly performing their jobs.

Mr Madden added that the company was prepared to resume talks with union members if they reduced their pay claims.

"If you provide us with a credible basis for negotiation, we will go into a room with you," he said.

Responding to the measure on Newstalk Lunchtime, SIPTU organiser Owen Reidy accused the company of "pouring fuel on the fire". 

"It's quite tragic at this stage, that instead of resolving this thing ... Gerry seems to spend more time talking and plotting and planning in relation to counteracting action," he said.

"All of this is counterproductive. All it does is frustrate his employees even more."

Work-to-rule protest

The latest move in the dispute comes after Transdev suspended sick payments for all drivers over absence rates.

The company told SIPTU on Friday that it would not be processing payments in the May payroll and thereafter due to allegedly high levels of absence.

Mr Reidy said yesterday that Transdev had taken “punitive action” by unilaterally and retrospectively withholding sick pay for all drivers.

Drivers have already had their pay cut by 10% for continuing an ongoing work-to-rule protest. Staff involved in industrial action are also set to lose their annual bonus payment for this year. 

Three non-driver staff grades have accepted revised pay proposals as part of a deal with Transdev. However, talks aimed at ending the long-running dispute between drivers and management broke down last month. 

Further full-day strikes are scheduled for May 20th, May 26th and May 27th, with four-hour stoppages planned for June 2nd, June 3rd, June 7th, June 8th, June 9th and June 10th.