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Strike on the way? Irish Rail workers to vote on cuts

SIPTU workers are to start voting on whether or not to accept LRC proposals aimed at saving money for the company.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

WORKERS AT IRISH Rail are to start voting next week on whether to accept proposals to change their terms and conditions.

The Labour Relations Commission yesterday put forward a series of suggestions aimed at saving money within the company.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has warned that strike action may be on the cards as workers and management try to reach a deal on cutting costs. However Irish Rail has said the gulf between the two sides is ‘not insurmountable’.

Irish Rail wants to save €8.7 million this year, with more than half of this to come from cutting direct pay. The company has already cut costs by €68 million since the recession began. Workers at the company have had their pay frozen since 2008 and have seen reductions in staff members and annual leave entitlements over the past six years.

SIPTU workers will begin to ballot next week on the proposals. A union organiser said that there should be more of a focus on other costs besides payroll.

“Members are  concerned that while they have taken measures in recognition of the financial position of the company, similar reductions in non-payroll costs have not been pursued with the same vigor,” said Paul Cullen of SIPTU.

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“Members are concerned that in media commentary concerning these proposals their earlier contributions have not been recognised and would wish this to be rectified”.

“Fundamental to members’ consideration of these proposals will be their ability to trust management that no further changes will be requested during the lifetime of any possible agreement,” said Cullen.

The result of the ballot of SIPTU workers is expected later this month.

Read: Train strike ‘not inevitable’ according to Irish Rail and NBRU >

Read: Irish Rail cash fares increase from today >

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Christine Bohan

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