Industrial action on the cards at Iarnród Éireann

The action is likely to affect passengers over the October bank holiday weeked

Industrial action on the cards at Iarnród Éireann

Image: Irish Rail

Travel chaos could be on the cards with staff at Iarnród Éireann to be balloted for Industrial action.

The action is likely to disrupt passenger's travel plans over the October bank holiday weekend.

The move comes after pay talks broke down without agreement at the Workplace Relations Commission last night.

Unions are seeking a pay rise of around 4% - but have warned that the company is attempting to add a number of conditions to any pay deal.

Yesterday unions rejected a pay rise of 1.5%.

The offer was reportedly conditional on workers accepting outsourcing measures, an increment freeze, forced redeployment, line closures and a reduction in contract hours.

Inevitable action

The general secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) Dermot O'Leary has warned that strike action now seems inevitable:

“We will be balloting members immediately and it will take I suppose about three weeks to do that,” he said.

“Following on from that we are obliged to serve at least seven days notice to the company and unfortunately we are looking at a situation where industrial action is probably inevitable towards the end of October.

“Again, it is coincidental I suppose, the October weekend will be in or around the time of that action.”

He said there are a “litany of issues” the company is expecting workers to conform to in order to fund any pay-rise.

“It is unfortunate now that the people of this country, particularly those that use Irish Rail on a regular basis – commuters and long-distance travellers – are going to be disrupted in the very near future, probably in the middle towards the end of October,” he said.

Funding increase

The NBRU has called for the Minister for Transport Shane Ross to intervene in the dispute and provide additional funding for public transport.

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

However, Iarnród Éireann has warned that the company is carrying accumulated debts of €160m and cannot fund a similar rise.