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Michael O'Leary on Luas drivers - "I'd sack the lot of them"

The Ryanair CEO wasn’t mincing his words today.

21/8/2014. Ryanair Press Conferences Michael O'Leary Source: Laura Hutton/Rollingnews.ie

RYANAIR CEO MICHAEL O’Leary has taken aim squarely at the striking Luas drivers today.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, O’Leary spoke on many subjects, including Britain’s pending vote on whether or not to leave the EU, which he thinks is going to be very close.

But he saved his most scathing criticism for the striking Luas drivers.

At present, a series of Labour Court recommendations has suggested that the drivers be given an 18.3% pay increase by 2020.

Whether or not that will be accepted, by either side, is not yet known.

O’Leary for his part said that the Luas situation had “been mishandled from start to finish”, and that he “would have sacked the whole lot of them” in reference to the striking drivers.

“Out you go,” he said. Acknowledging that this would most likely lead to an all-out strike, O’Leary replied: “that’s the best way to bring these things to the boil, then you bring people back in and say ‘lads here’s your terms’.”

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“When you get a bunch of head-bangers who turn down a 20% pay increase over three years when inflation is less than 1%, holding out for a 50% pay increase, when they’re already paid double the rate of tram drivers in Blackpool,” he said.

I mean it takes about two-and-a-half nanoseconds to learn how to drive a tram.
Driving a tram you push left to go forwards, right to go backwards, I mean you could hire students on summer holidays to drive trams.

O’Leary claimed that the strike “gets a disproportionate amount of coverage on RTÉ, which as we all know is run by the unions anyway” and suggested that “you’d swear the entire of Dublin had come to a standstill”.

Sure there’s buses running all over Dublin.

The outspoken CEO said that he gives credit to Luas operator Transdev “for standing up to them (the drivers)”, otherwise “it would have all been over by now”.

O’Leary likewise said he “gives great credit” to transport ministers past and present Paschal Donohoe and Shane Ross “for staying out of it”.

If these guys want to lose their jobs then let them lose their jobs. There’s plenty of people who would replace them.

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