THE first of five days of strikes by Irish Rail workers is set to go ahead tomorrow, with an estimated 155,000 passengers set to have their daily commutes disrupted.
The announcement of strikes was made after a collapse of talks at the Workplace Relations Commission overpay. Unions sought annual pay increases of about 3.75 percent – a similar figure to the rises demanded by Luas and Dublin Bus workers last year. If these terms are to be met following the strike, Irish Rail workers will gain an average wage of almost €61,000.
The increases being sought by employees across the board and at various levels within the industry would cost just under €43 million, a figure which Irish Rail claims would lead it to the brink of insolvency.
Tomorrow marks the first of five days of rail strikes which will take place over the next two months across inter-city, DART, and LUAS lines. Rail services will not operate tomorrow; Tuesday, November 7th; Tuesday, November 14th; Thursday, November 23rd, and Friday, December 8th.
The November 14th strike will cause a lot of frustration for Irish football fans, as that is the date Ireland face off against Denmark in the World Cup qualifier, and the strike on December 8th will cause some trouble too, as its seen traditionally as a big pre-Christmas shopping day.
General Secretary of the National Bus and Rail Union, Dermot O’ Leary, said last night that it was unlikely that “any viable alternative” would emerge today to avoid the disruptive nationwide industrial action, and that it would take a “significant intervention” to derail the other four planned strikes scheduled to take place in November and December.