Talks between Iarnród Éireann and unions get underway at WRC

Unions have warned of industrial action if an agreement is not reached

Talks between Iarnród Éireann and unions get underway at WRC

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The head of the National Bus and Rail Union says he hopes industrial action can be avoided in the latest transport industrial dispute.

Iarnród Éireann train drivers are calling for their working week to be brought in line with drivers in the UK by cutting their hours from 43 hours to 35.

Drivers, unions and company reps have entered talks at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) today.

A report on the issues has been drawn up by the Labour Court, and will be discussed over the three days of WRC talks.

Speaking on his way into the meeting, the NBRU's Dermot O'Leary says it is time that drivers' pay and conditions were improved.

"Train drivers have fallen behind both internal colleagues and external colleagues, so it's now about time Irish Rail delivered on behalf of what is a vital resource for them," he said.

In a joint statement yesterday, the NBRU and SIPTU said "we are now on the final leg of the process towards major improvements for our members".

However, they also warned that a failure to improve the drivers' terms and conditions "will inevitably result in our members having to resort to engaging in Industrial Action in order to realise such improvements".