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Irish Rail drivers reject Labour Court pay recommendation

83% of Irish Rail’s Siptu members rejected the recommendation put forward by the Labour Court.

Image: Eamonn Farrell

TRAIN DRIVER TRADE union members at Irish Rail have voted to reject a Labour Court recommendation concerning pay and productivity issues.

83% of Irish Rail’s Siptu members rejected the recommendation put forward by the Labour Court.

The recommendation proposed a 1.15% pay increase to drivers and would ensure that all drivers would complete driver training. It would also provide an increase of around 35% in the allowance for a driver mentoring scheme.

This follows a deal that was struck in December by all trade union members at Irish Rail, including drivers, to accept a pay deal.

The 1.15% pay rise that drivers have rejected would have come on top of the 7.5% pay increase to all Irish Rail staff, which was accepted in the December deal.

The Labour Court intervened with Irish Rail staff in November following a series of 24-hour strikes. The strikes were halted following the court’s recommendations.

In a joint statement last month, the unions involved said: “The proposals include annual pay increases of 2.5% for three years. These will come into effect on 1 December 2017, 1 December 2018 and 1 December 2019.”

In its recommendation, the Labour Court said that, if these measures are agreed to – which they have been now – unions should not make any further pay claims over the lifetime of the deal.

Today’s pay deal rejection relates only to Irish Rail drivers, not Irish Rail staff as a whole.


In a statement today, Siptu organiser Paul Cullen said: “The result of this ballot demonstrates the depth of dissatisfaction among our members in the driving grade of Irish Rail following the failure of management to deal with their outstanding issues over the last number of years.”

He added that there is “a severe lack of confidence in management’s ability to resolve the issues our members face”.

This result means the ball is now firmly in management’s court and their actions over the coming days will determine whether or not a fair and speedy resolution can be found. However, if management attempts to provoke a dispute, our members will not be found wanting in delivering a fair, swift and justifiable response.

In a statement today, Irish Rail said that the non-cooperation with driver mentoring orchestrated by trade unions over the past 20 months has had a number of implications.

Irish Rail says it has resulted in “repeated delays to the introduction of an increased 10-minute Dart frequency and prevented the expansion in other services including off-peak commuter services”.

It also said it has blocked the career progression of trainee drivers.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Cullen said that no decisions have yet been made in relation to strike action.

Irish Rail said its management will “urgently consider the outcome of this ballot”.

NBRU General Secretary Dermot O’Leary said that the unions members “have rejected the recommendation which was designed to facilitate a move from the currently agreed voluntarist system of training new drivers, to one where it would become compulsory for all train drivers to mentor new colleagues”.

He said that “there has been quite an amount of dissatisfaction among drivers over recent times”.

The onus is now on both sides to reflect and consider the result of this ballot (93% against); any unilateral attempt by Irish Rail to force the issue may result in a negative reaction from those who have voted to reject the compulsory element of training.

Read: Irish Rail staff accept Labour Court pay deal recommendation>

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