Second day of travel disruption over rail strike

Monday 25 August 2014 23.43
1 of 4
Drivers protesting outside Connolly Station this morning
Drivers protesting outside Connolly Station this morning
There is no talk of further negotiations and no sign of Government intervention in the dispute
There is no talk of further negotiations and no sign of Government intervention in the dispute
Iarnród Éireann employees protest against pay cuts at Kent station in Cork
Iarnród Éireann employees protest against pay cuts at Kent station in Cork
SIPTU began its 24-hour action today
SIPTU began its 24-hour action today

Tens of thousands of rail passengers were forced to make alternative travel arrangements today as a strike at Iarnród Éireann continued for a second day.

The company has implemented pay cuts of between 1.7% and 6%, following prolonged negotiations. 

The cost-cutting proposals were accepted by three unions at Iarnród Éireann, but rejected by the National Bus and Rail Union and SIPTU.

Unions and management have been involved in talks on cost-cutting proposals for more than 18 months.

As the strike continued for a second day, and with further disruption to services scheduled next month, there is no plan for further negotiations, and no sign of Government intervention.

Iarnród Éireann imposed unilateral pay cuts yesterday, having accumulated losses of almost €150m over the past six years.

The NBRU has said its members are being asked to replace funding that the Government reduced.

The NBRU began its 48-hour strike action yesterday.

SIPTU began its 24-hour action today.

Head of Communications at Iarnród Éireann Barry Kenny said the company is engaged in all levels in addressing its financial situation.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Kenny said there was an ongoing review with the National Transport Authority in terms of the funding available for Iarnród Éireann's services.

However, Mr Kenny said 60% of the company's costs came from the pay bill.

He said there was no way of bridging the gap without getting some savings from pay.

Mr Kenny said the company felt that what it had proposed was modest.

Support for all-out strike - NBRU

The General Secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union has said his union has a mandate for an all-out strike over cost-cutting measures at Iarnród Éireann.

Also speaking on Morning Ireland, Dermot O'Leary said NBRU members will review their actions on 23 September.

He said the possibility of an all-out stoppage should not be ignored given that the union has a mandate of over 80% in favour of such action.

"It is not for me to decide what out next course of action will be but just to remind people that this trade union has a mandate of 80% for an all-out strike so people should not ignore that either."

Mr O'Leary urged Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe to use his office to address funding issues at Iarnród Éireann.

He said there is a lack of trust among NBRU members in Iarnród Éireann, given, he said, that despite a suite of cost-cutting measures being proposed to his members in 2012, ten months later the company proposed further cuts.

Mr O'Leary said his members also do not have confidence in Government support due to the reduction in subvention levels. 

He said the only solution to this dispute was for the Government, Iarnród Éireann and workers to engage in discussions.