THOUSANDS of people living and working in Limerick will be affected by a nationwide stoppage of Irish Rail services this Wednesday.
This comes after 90% of rail workers nationwide voted in favour of industrial action, surrounding ongoing concerns in relation to pay and conditions.
Wednesday marks the first day of a series of agreed 24-hour strikes at various rail stations across the country, including Colbert Station which has 60 workers.
Members of the National Bus and Railworkers Union (NBRU) will picket outside the Parnell Street station from Wednesday morning to Wednesday evening.
General Secretary Dermot O'Leary said this Tuesday: "It is now quite obvious to those of us that represent frontline transport workers, that there is an 'axis of collusion' between Department officials and the various transport companies with regard to resisting the genuine pay claims of workers who have gone long periods, ten years in the case of Irish Rail, without a pay rise."
He added: "It is both untenable and unsustainable that the contractual relationship between the CIE companies, (Irish Rail being the latest) is structured in a way that it does not have any provision for pay improvements, and restricts the companies to a level of profit that leaves little or no room for addressing pay.
"The NBRU is of the view that there is a requirement for all parties, the Department, NTA, the Companies and Trade Unions, to come together and create an environment to periodically (perhaps in advance of Contract being awarded) discuss pay in the Public Transport Sector, such a scenario would obviate the necessity to regularly engage in disruptive industrial action across the various modes of transport."
Regional representative of the NBRU, John Ford told the Leader on Tuesday afternoon that the “strike is going ahead. There is definitely no sign of any intervention or last-minute talks.”
He said that on top of the pay issue, there has been a problem with staff being let go and a recruitment ban in recent years.
“It is a pay dispute, but there is a bit of a legacy dispute there as well,” Mr Ford explained.
Walkouts are also planned for Tuesday, November 7, Tuesday, November 14, Thursday November 23 and Friday, December 8.
The action comes after talks between the NBRU, Siptu and other unions with Irish Rail bosses broke down. Senator Paul Gavan has called for “urgent intervention” by Minister for Transport Shane Ross in the Irish Rail dispute.
“The Irish Rail Workers and their union have just cause. They have endured a ten year pay freeze, and in effect have been asked to subsidise the underfunding of our rail transport system through their wages.”
“Enough is enough. It’s time for the Minister and his government to address the underlying problem of funding for our rail system.”