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Irish Rail workers reject payroll-cutting plan, Varadkar ‘disappointed’

Both SIPTU and the NBRU have rejected the latest proposals as unfair. The Transport Minister says Irish Rail won’t be given any more cash…

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Updated at 4.31pm

WORKERS AT IRISH Irish Rail have rejected cost-cutting proposals put forward by the Labour Relations Commission aimed at resolving a dispute between the union and the company.

Both the NBRU and SIPTU have voted to reject the proposals relating to changes in terms and conditions of employment.

A statement from Transport Minister Leo Varadkar and junior minister Alan Kelly said they were disappointed at the move, and stressed that no further cash was available for Irish Rail.

According to the statement:

There have already been substantial fare increases and there is no scope for an increase in the Government subvention.

Therefore payroll savings are needed to protect existing service levels and jobs as part of the solutions to the financial challenges facing the company.

Management at Iarnród Éireann will now have to consider how best to proceed with the implementation of the necessary measures.

SIPTU’s Paul Cullen said that representatives remained available for negotiations with management. However, he warned:

Members are concerned that while they have taken measures in recognition of the financial position of the company over the past three years, similar reductions in non-payroll and managerial costs have not been pursued with the same vigour.

The members also question the Government’s commitment to the public transport network given the lack of funding for the service.

NBRU General Secretary Dermot O’Leary said that members were told in 2012 that cost reduction proposals imposed at the time would run until June 2015 without further measures being sought.

“The issue of trust has obviously played a major part in our members’ decision,” O’Leary said.

“The Government cannot continue to cut subvention for essential public transport services and expect our members to pick up the tab. Population migration to the major cities and towns should place public transport and its provision at the centre of any economic recovery plan.”

SIPTU’s members rejected the latest LRC proposals by 71 per cent to 29 per cent. At the NBRU, the margin was five to one.

Speaking last month, Varadkar said he thought strike action at the company was “inevitable”.

First posted at 2.31pm

Read: Train strike “not inevitable” according to Irish Rail and NBRU

Read: Irish Rail apologises after passengers have to stand in carriage aisles

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