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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 27 June, 2019
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All-out strike 'seriously on the agenda' for Luas workers as dispute escalates

The Luas dispute has escalated significantly over the past number of days.

Parked Luas trams
Parked Luas trams
Image: Mark Stedman

SIPTU HAS SAID that all-out strike action is “seriously on the agenda” for Luas workers following yesterday’s escalation of the transport dispute.

Transdev yesterday put the entire staff of the Luas on protective notice, saying that future employment would be on a day-to-day basis.

Protective notice is essentially when a company warns staff that their jobs are in jeopardy unless something changes within the company in terms of finance or the viability of people’s employment.

The notice follows on from a number of days of industrial action which shut down the tram service by Luas workers over the past two months in an ever-escalating row over pay and workers’ conditions that shows no sign of letting off.

Workers overwhelmingly rejected a deal that was hammered out at the Workplace Relations Commision in the run up to Easter which would have seen pay increases of up to 18%.

Now, however, Transdev has significantly reduced that offer, saying that workers have until Sunday to accept a lower pay deal.

It has also warned workers that in the future anyone involved in industrial action may have their wages docked to offset the losses incurred.

27/3/2016 LUAS strike. Pictured are stricking LUAS Luas workers on strike last month Source: RollingNews.ie

The next step

Speaking this morning on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Siptu divisional organiser Owen Reidy said that Transdev was threatening the workers who had engaged in “legal, lawful dispute”.

Reidy also said that following the serving of protective notice, workers would have to “consider very carefully” what their next step was.

“What we’re not going to do is fall into some sort of potential trap… where we have some knee-jerk reaction – we’ll consider this carefully,” he said.

When asked about the prospect of workers shutting down the service entirely and goin going all-out strike, Reidy said that a “considered decision” would be made after discussions but that it was something “that is seriously on the agenda”.

11/2/2016 Luas Transport Strikes Parked Luas trams Source: Mark Stedman

Reidy also reiterated earlier calls for the Transport Minister and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (who own the railway lines upon which the service operates) to get involved in the dispute and condemn the “unprecedented action” taken by Transdev.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland has previously stated that it would not be getting involved in the dispute due to it having awarded the contract to run the service to private company Transdev.

It said that Transdev ran the service and it getting involved would represent a conflict of interest.

Transdev has said that the lower pay deal it offered and action that it is taking “reflects the reduced financial resources available to the company”.

The company also said that “Luas customers and the public must be at the forefront of how the dispute is resolved” going forward.

TheJournal.ie has contacted the Transport Minister for comment.

Read: Update: All Luas staff placed on protective notice with immediate effect

Read: Luas strike to go ahead on Easter Sunday and Monday

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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