Irish Rail: Shrinking workforce, rising productivity and frozen wages form backdrop to strike

unite-white-out-of-redUnite warns dispute could continue into Christmas season

November 6th: Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s 24-hour Irish Rail strike – the second of five planned stoppages – Unite Regional Officer Willie Quigley said that the industrial action was taking place against a backdrop of a shrinking workforce, rising productivity and frozen wages.  Unite represents craft workers in Irish Rail, and Mr Quigley warned that industrial action could continue into the Christmas season unless management returns to the negotiating table with a credible offer – and authority from senior management and the Government to make that offer.

“Over the past decade, Irish Rail workers have been doing more with less.  The workforce has fallen by over 20 per cent, while productivity measured in revenue per employee has grown by a massive 42 per cent.  Yet workers have been subjected to a near decade-long pay freeze.

“The public transport crisis which has seen industrial action in Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann and now Irish Rail has its roots in the ongoing failure to commit to a properly funded public transport system in the interests of the travelling public, the economy, and public transport workers.

“Irish Rail employees have had enough, and this was reflected in the overwhelming mandate for industrial action delivered by members of all unions at the company.  The action which started last Tuesday was precipitated by the breakdown of talks at the WRC – a breakdown which, in the union’s view, was orchestrated by players outside the room.

“Unless management returns to the negotiating table with a credible offer, and the authorisation to make that offer, it is quite possible that industrial action will continue into the Christmas season”, Mr Quigley warned.

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