October 31st: Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s Irish Rail strike, due to start at 00.01 hrs, Unite Regional Officer Willie Quigley this afternoon warned that the dispute may escalate further in the absence of meaningful engagement by management. Unite represents craft workers in Irish Rail, and tomorrow’s 24-hour stoppage is the first in a series of five one-day stoppages scheduled following the breakdown in talks at the WRC and an overwhelming vote for industrial action by members of all unions.
“Neither Irish Rail management nor Minister Ross should be in any doubt that this dispute could escalate beyond the five strike days already planned unless a serious attempt is made to engage meaningfully with unions.
“Workers in Irish Rail have reached the end of their patience. Following a pay freeze lasting nearly ten years, the final straw was the breakdown of talks at the WRC on October 19th – a breakdown which, in the unions’ view, was orchestrated by forces outside the negotiations.
“In the short-term, management needs to return to the negotiating table with a serious offer – and with full authorisation to make that offer. In the medium and long-term, Minister Ross and the Government need to realise the failure to commit to a properly funded public transport system is at the root of the public transport crisis which has seen industrial action in Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann and now Irish Rail.
“Irish Rail workers and passengers are paying the price for a public transport crisis not of their making”, Willie Quigley concluded.