Union threat ahead of rail strike

The Irish Times - - Home News - MARIE O’HAL­LO­RAN

Staff at Iarn­ród Éire­ann in­sist they will not com­ply with com­pany plans to in­crease the fre­quency of ser­vices on the Maynooth rail line to con­nect with Dublin’s new Luas route un­til a dis­pute over pay is set­tled.

The threat is made in a pam­phlet that is to be dis­trib­uted on trains to­day by mem­bers of the Na­tional Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) ahead of the first of a se­ries of 24-hour strikes start­ing to­mor­row.

Iarn­ród Éire­ann wants to in­crease com­muter ser­vices along the Maynooth line to con­nect with the Luas cross-city ser­vice to Broom­bridge, just beyond Cabra, which is due to start in De­cem­ber.

The cross-city ser­vice takes in 14 stops from St Stephen’s Green right through the city cen­tre and out through Broad­stone and Cabra to the ter­mi­nus at Broom­bridge. The Broom­bridge Luas stop is ad­ja­cent to the Broom­bridge rail­way stop and con­nected by a plat­form in­ter­change.

Unions at Iarn­ród Éire­ann have said no rail ser­vices will op­er­ate to­mor­row; on Tues­day, Novem­ber 7th; Tues­day, Novem­ber 14th; Thurs­day, Novem­ber 23rd; or Fri­day, De­cem­ber 8th due to the strikes.

Close to in­sol­vency

Iarn­ród Éire­ann has warned it is al­ready “dan­ger­ously close to in­sol­vency” with ac­cu­mu­lated losses of ¤160 mil­lion and the planned strikes would fur­ther weaken its pre­car­i­ous fi­nan­cial po­si­tion.

In a leaflet en­ti­tled Ir­ish Rail Dis­pute: the Facts, the NBRU states staff have not had a pay in­crease since 2008 and have en­dured cost-cut­ting pro­grammes, which in­cluded cuts to pay, be­tween 2012 and 2016.

Gov­ern­ment fund­ing has fallen from ¤189 mil­lion in 2009 to ¤117 mil­lion last year, the leaflet states.

It also points to Ir­ish Rail rev­enues ris­ing from a low of ¤185 mil­lion at the start of the re­ces­sion to a “record high of ¤245 mil­lion in 2016 and claims “Ir­ish Rail has been out boast­ing about record pas­sen­ger num­bers”.

The leaflet points to a 20 per cent fall in staffing lev­els in the past decade and a de­crease of more than ¤25 mil­lion in pay­roll since 2008.

It also notes the rec­om­men­da­tion by the Na­tional Trans­port Author­ity that the Gov­ern­ment should com­pen­sate Ir­ish Rail for years of un­der­fund­ing with an in­jec­tion of ¤125 mil­lion over the next three years.

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