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Dublin: 16 °C Tuesday 11 August, 2020
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People had very mixed feelings about the rail strike being called off

Trains ran as normal – just with fewer people on them…

image1 The 7am Dundalk to Dublin Connolly train earlier this morning, which is normally full capacity Source: Stephen Harford

A RAIL STRIKE due to take place today between 6am and 9am was called off in the early hours of this morning.

Talks between management at Irish Rail and drivers represented by the NBRU and Siptu continued into the early hours.

But just before 4am, Irish Rail tweeted to say the industrial action had been called off, and apologised for the uncertainty caused.

“The outstanding issues between the parties have been referred to the Labour Court,” a statement read. The company apologised to customers for the inconvenience and again repeated claims that the unions had decided not to pursue improved earnings of 7.9%.

The last minute decision to cancel the work stoppage was met by commuters with mixed feelings. Some were happy with the extra few minutes in bed or the empty seats on the trains:

image1The 7am Dundalk to Dublin Connolly train earlier this morning, which is normally full capacity.Source: Stephen Harford

Others were pretty annoyed at how late the strike was cancelled, as people had already made other arrangements for this morning:

In a heated back-and-forth on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Irish Rail's Barry Kenny and NBRU general secretary Dermot O'Leary made it clear the two sides still have a long way to come before a resolution in this dispute can be reached.

O'Leary said the unions had not seen the "willingness that was publicly displayed by the company" and that the issues they wanted to address on behalf of their members were "not given the same levity" as those the company wanted to pursue.

He accused the company of trying to spin the story in its favour with talk of pay rises when in fact any increased earning would be based on workers' productivity.

"There was too much being demanded for workers to self-finance their own deal," he said.

Kenny said the company had already proposed bringing the dispute to the Labour Court in October talks and this would have prevented the major disruption caused by the last work stoppage. He said proposed increased earnings would have to be implemented through productivity measures because the company is losing €1.5 million every month and can only fund pay rises in this way.

- With reporting by Michelle Hennessy.

Read: Unions livid that Irish Rail preemptively briefed reporters on collapsing talks>

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Nicky Ryan

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