Workers protesting outside Colbert Station in Limerick this Wednesday Picture: Adrian Butler
A SIPTU representative for Irish Rail workers in Limerick has said that some staff are finding it hard to pay the bills following “10 years of austerity”.
More than a dozen Irish Rail workers formed a picket line outside Colbert Station this Wednesday, protesting against pay and conditions at the company.
It marked the first of five proposed 24-hour nationwide protests, after Irish Rail workers voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action last month.
Siptu representative Dom Moloney told the media that the workers were “forced to be here today.
“We don’t want to be on the picket line. We don’t want to split any further back with what we have. We haven’t had a pay increase in 10 years. And everything has been going up in those 10 years,” he said.
Workers are looking for a 3.75% annual increase over three years. Mr Moloney said that the 10-year pay freeze has had a personal impact on workers.
“It just means that every single thing has gone up. Fuel has gone up, rent has gone up, we are finding it hard to meet the bills. We are just ordinary people working. It has impacted everyone in Ireland – and not just us – this whole 10 years of austerity,” he explained.
He added that they are relying on the public during their efforts to highlight their concerns.
“They are our biggest asset. We move the people of Ireland up and down this country every single day, and we realise that they are customers. We don’t want to inconvenience them. But we have only one tool, and that is for us to protest.
He added: “I absolutely hope that someone is going to see reason. Obviously this is going to end up back in the Labour Court again. Obviously, the two sides have to meet again. And we have been very flexible all along.”
He said that he sympathises with other sectors which have yet to receive a pay rise. Solidarity councillor Cian Prendiville is calling on the public to support the staff at Iarnrod Eireann.
“Government policy is responsible for provoking this strike. State funding for railway services has been cut by more than 70%, and one of the consequences of this policy is that the pay of railway workers has been frozen for a decade. The pay freeze must be ended and the cuts must be fully reversed to allow a quality service with cheaper fares.”
The strike finishes tonight at 12 midnight.