TENS OF THOUSANDS of commuters have faced disruption this morning as Luas workers begin a two-day strike over pay.
Union members are looking for significant salary increases, which employer Transdev says it cannot afford.
Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe earlier called on the company and workers to re-engage with each other in order to avert industrial action.
“If this action goes ahead as planned significant disruption will be caused to those who have come to depend on Luas to get to work and about their daily business,” said the minister.
Here’s what you need to know to get around for the next two days:
Alternative travel and refunds
The strike began at 5.30am and will continue until Saturday at 6.30am.
Any commuters looking to travel between these times will have to make alternative travel arrangements.
Tranportforireland.com is providing up-to-date real time travel information for anyone who needs an alternative route to work, with major routes across Dublin expected to be very busy over the next two days.
It’s important to note:
- Buses, Darts and train services will all run as normal, but will almost certainly be busier – so plan accordingly (you may need extra time in the morning to avoid traffic/ overcrowding).
- Luas tickets will NOT be valid on other forms of transport.
- Luas will NOT be providing an alternative transport service, so there will be no extra bus services in place to transport people from Luas stations.
Holders of seven-day, 30-day, monthly and annual Luas tickets are entitled to a refund for the strike days in question. For details on how to claim a refund, visit the Luas website.
Similar advice will apply for next week, with workers planning a further two days of action on 19 and 20 February.
What’s this all about?
Early last month, Luas workers who are Siptu members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action over a dispute in pay.
Essentially, the workers want equal pay with Irish Rail staff, who on average earn more than Luas staff.
Luas workers are looking for pay increases of between 8.5% and 53.8%.
Transdev, which said that it made a loss of €700,000 last year, has stated that it is not prepared to meet these demands, and that no pay increase would be given over the next five years unless it is line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Talks broke down between both parties at the end of January, with neither side able to make significant ground to meet the other.
Compounding the problem for Transdev is the fact that they are a private company, and will face penalties to any change in the existing contract with the State.
Speaking on Morning Ireland yesterday, Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said:
It is not possible to change this contract mid-flow and there will be penalties to the company if that contract is not honoured. There will be clear penalties.
Last month, Siptu organiser John Murphy said that workers were aware of the disruption the strikes would cause:
The workers are conscious of the inconvenience these stoppages will have on their customers but believe they have no option but to conduct this industrial action.
It remains to be seen if the minister’s pleas and the expected fallout from angry commuters will manage to stop next week’s planned disruptions.