Disruption to Limerick train services likely as workers vote for strike action

Alan Owens

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TRAIN services out of Limerick's Colbert station – and around the country – look set to grind to a halt later this month and in the run up to Christmas after National Bus and Railworkers Union (NBRU) members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.

Talking between the NBRU and Siptu with Irish Rail management have broken down, and the union said 93% of its members had voted for industrial action as a result.

General Secretary Dermot O’Leary said: "Our members have had enough of the type of behaviour witnessed last evening at the WRC when senior management at Irish Rail pulled a potential proposal which we felt could have been presented to our members for their consideration.

"It would appear that this Company are hell-bent on forcing its own staff onto the picket lines and creating an environment which will bring nothing but misery to thousands of rail commuters.

"We will meet with trade union colleagues this afternoon in order to agree a coordinated strategy of industrial action over the coming weeks and the run-in to Christmas, it is long since passed time that political leadership was provided by the Minister for Transport with regard to the publicly-owned public transport Companies," he added.

Staff were looking for a pay rise in the region of 3.75%, with talks at the Workplace Relations Commission taking place recently.

Both of the unions had earlier indicated that workers could potentially go to the gate on the Bank Holiday weekend, between October 28 and 30, traditionally one of the busiest times for travel in the year. Some 60 staff work at Limerick's Colbert station.

Union sources have previously indicated that if workers in Limerick set up pickets, they would be instructing bus drivers to pass these and attend work – unlike earlier in the year, when Bus Eireann drivers were engaging in industrial action. Then, rail services from Limerick were disrupted.

More to follow.