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Paschal Donohoe at the launch of the Road Safety Authority's Back to School Safety campaign in Dublin today Hugh O'Connell/
Irish Rail

Striking rail workers 'lose more in wages than if they accepted pay cuts'

But Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe says he’s still not getting involved in the Irish Rail dispute.

TRANSPORT MINISTER PASCHAL Donohoe has claimed that Irish Rail workers stand to lose more in wages for the days they go on strike than they would if they accepted the proposed pay cuts.

He was speaking in Dublin today ahead of more planned strike action by workers at Irish Rail next month following two days of industrial action last Sunday and Monday which meant there were no rail services across the country.

Pending a solution to the row, which centres on Irish Rail’s plans to implement a cost-saving plan involving cuts  to basic pay of between 1.7 and 5 per cent, further strike action is planned on 7, 8 and 21 September coinciding with the All Ireland hurling and football finals at Croke Park.

Donohoe said yesterday that the cumulative effect in lost revenue due to the two-day action taken so far has cost Irish Rail around €1.5 million.

And the minister told reporters on the city centre today: ”If all of these days of planned action were to go ahead it would actually deliver more in lost wages to the Irish Rail workers than the impact of the proposed wage reductions.”

Donohoe, who was appointed Transport Minister last month, reiterated that he has no plans to intervene in the dispute, saying this would undermine the existing industrial relations bodies, the Labour Relations Commission and the Labour Court.

“These bodies have now been involved in the Irish Rail issue for over 20 months. They’re deeply immersed in it, and I’m not going to undermine their expertise or their independence by makng an intervention.

“When others call for this intervention we have to bear in mind that any money that people ask me to put into this issue is taxpayers’ money, it’s the money of people all over the country and I’ve a real responsibility to make sure that that money is well spent.”

Donohoe said he has a responsibility to ensure “effective and efficient” spending of taxpayers’ money and reiterated the impact of strike action will have on workers wages.

He added: “I recognise everything the workers in Irish Rail ahve already done to try and advance their company but the cumulative effect of all of the proposed days of strike would actually lose them more wages than their proposed wage reduction plan that is the subject of much discussion at the moment.”

Poll: Do you support this weekend’s train strikes?

Iarnród Éireann boss is set to return from Mauritius holiday ahead of strike action

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