Easter weekend set for transport chaos as Luas workers reject pay deal
Transport across Dublin on Easter weekend is set for chaos after Luas workers rejected a pay deal.
The tram drivers and ticket inspectors will strike on Saturday and Sunday, with an estimated 250,000 people expected on the city's streets for the 1916 centenary commemorations.
Owen Reidy, trade union representative with SIPTU, said the potential new pay deal was rejected by almost 100%.
"We accept the democratic decision of our members," he said.
"We have always stated that notified industrial action will proceed unless an agreement is reached and that remains the case. We do remain available for discussions with the employer."
Transdev, which operates Luas, said regrettably its services would not be running this weekend, potentially one of the busiest of the year.
Management said they wanted to "express their shock and disappointment at the rejection of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) proposal.
"We entered the talks in good faith and while the WRC proposal is challenging for the company we were 100% committed to supporting it."
Gerry Madden, Transdev managing director, said the union leaders could still call off the strike.
The original pay claim by Siptu members at Luas included a call for some salaries to be increased by up to 52%.
Transdev claimed the deal put on the table would have given "substantial increases", including a driver on 42,247 euro earning 50,000 euro by January 2019, alongside a bonus of 3,250 euro.
Mr Madden said the offer was at the "very outer limits of what we could afford".
"For this to be rejected is deeply disappointing," he said.
Mr Madden said the offer had been binned.
"We will not be issuing any knee jerk response - this decision has serious implications for the company and our staff and we will reflect over the weekend and issue a considered response," he said.
Acting Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe called for the Luas workers to cancel the strike.
"The terms of the WRC proposal involved a generous package of pay increases for the workers from their employer - far in excess of what many other private or public sector employers could possibly afford for their staff at this time. So it is difficult to understand the Luas workers' rejection," he said.
"This weekend is a unique occasion in the history of our nation, as we commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Rising.
"Public transport services within Dublin will be important to facilitate people travelling to the programme of public events."
Mr Donohoe added: "I am calling on Siptu to explain to the public why Luas services would have to be cancelled for the commemorations. The public will expect a demonstration of good faith from them on this matter."