Ross presiding over public transport crisis not of workers’ making
September 28th: Unite, which represents craft workers in Iarnród Éireann, is to ballot members for industrial action following the breakdown of talks at the WRC last night.
Regional Officer Willie Quigley described the company’s 1.5 per cent pay offer as “incredible” given that Iarnród Éireann workers have not received a pay increase since 2008, and said that unions had no option but to ballot for industrial action up to and including strike action. Commenting on Transport Minister Shane Ross’s call this morning for both sides to “continue negotiating”, Mr Quigley said the Minister was presiding over a “public transport crisis not of the workers’ making”.
“Talks broke down yesterday when management refused to improve on the incredible offer of 1.5% after an almost ten-year pay freeze – an offer which they intended funding by closing down routes, outsourcing some functions and degrading an essential public service. This is unacceptable to unions and should also be unacceptable to the travelling public.
“Iarnród Éireann workers will be unimpressed by the Minister’s call for the parties to return to the negotiating table, given Minister Ross’s failure to commit to a properly funded public transport system.
“The situation in Iarnród Éireann comes in the wake of disputes at Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann. The Minister is presiding over a public transport crisis not of the workers’ making.
“In May, the Labour Court endorsed the unions’ proposal for a stakeholder forum on public transport in its Bus Eireann recommendation. The unions had hoped that the situation in Iarnród Éireann could be resolved, allowing space for all stakeholders to engage and map out a sustainable future for public transport in Ireland.
“As matters stand, however, we will be balloting in the coming weeks for industrial action at Iarnród Éireann up to and including strike action”, Willie Quigley concluded.