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Talks aim to avert Dart stoppages after drivers back strike over 10-minute service

The two sides of the dispute disagree over whether plans for a more frequent service constitute a productivity issue.

Image: RollingNews.ie

TALKS AIMED AT averting a strike by Dart drivers get underway at the Workplace Relations Commission today.

The discussions come after Siptu members voted to back strike action in the event that Irish Rail management goes ahead with plans to introduce a more frequent train service from next month.

The company says the planned increase in weekday Dart frequency from every 15 to 10 minutes will mean more trains for customers and more jobs for drivers.

Siptu and the NBRU, which also represents drivers, have a number of concerns about the proposed new service, including the higher workload that could be created for their members.

The unions argue that any roster changes should form part of discussions on increasing productivity and not be introduced without staff approval.

But Irish Rail said today that additional drivers have been trained to ensure the improved service can be delivered within existing rostering parameters.

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“An extra 1.6 million passenger journeys were made by Dart in 2015 against two years previously, a growth of over 10%, demonstrating the need for the additional services,” the company said in a statement.

“As new drivers have been trained, the delivery of the enhanced schedule is not a productivity issue as claimed by Siptu and the NBRU,” it added.

The company said it hoped the unions will engage with timetable changes at a local level so that the new service can be introduced without delay on 10 April.

Read: Paul Murphy accuses Luas operator of strike-breaking in ‘vicious, Thatcherite’ manner

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Catherine Healy

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