SIPTU MEMBERS IN Irish Rail today voted in favour of industrial action over proposed changes to their employment conditions by a ratio of 2:1.
Recently, union members had voted 51 per cent to 49 per cent against Labour Court recommendations which involved pay cuts, redundancies and restructuring at the company. In a ballot counted today, members voted by 66 per cent to 34 per cent in favour of industrial action but also voted 64 per cent to 36 per cent against strike action.
Commenting today, SIPTU organiser Paul Cullen said industrial action will only happen if management changes terms of employment without agreement.
“It is clear to us that members are prepared if necessary to protect their conditions of employment. However, we are also of the view that that we should all try to avoid a damaging dispute which has the potential to disrupt the travelling public,” they said.
Union representatives from SIPTU, the NBRU, TSSA and Unite, had met with senior management at the company earlier this afternoon and suggested that “this is a time for calm reflection and cool heads”.
“We also suggested the parties should consider a process that was successfully used in resolving the Dublin Bus restructuring whereby two independent facilitators assisted the management and unions in resolving their issues in a short time frame,” Cullen said.
Iarnród Éireann said after the meeting that the company committed to contact the trade unions in the coming days to advise of its proposed course of action. It also noted the outcome of the SIPTU ballots.
The company said the changes were being proposed in the context of “ongoing financial crisis facing the company and the urgent need to secure payroll savings, as part of the overall effort to prevent financial insolvency”.