Irish Rail want end to 'orchestrated blocking of driver training' as talks set to resume

Talks between Irish Rail and unions representing train drivers will begin at 10am at the Workplace Relations Commission this morning.

Today is the second day of negotiations aimed at averting strike action by drivers.

Unions are looking for a reduced working week, in line with train drivers in the UK and Northern Ireland.

The talks will also centre on the issue of drivers at Irish Rail refusing to train new recruits on the job.

Barry Kenny of Irish Rail says the issue of training is particularly important for the future of the company.

"We wanted to address all the issues that needed discussing," he said.

"We do have a situation where there is an orchestrated blocking of driver training, and in order to address all of our issues, we need to be able to do that in the spirit of goodwill.

"We're trying to train up additional DART drivers at the moment to allow for service expansion in the future and as people retire and need replacement."

Dermot O'Leary of the NBRU said that Irish Rail is ignoring the issue of working hours and is instead focusing on the subject of training.

"Irish Rail decided to place preconditions at the talks," he said.

"By that I mean, they wanted to talk about one issue in isolation, and that's the issue of training.

"Now, the issue of training of new recruits has been on the joint agenda of both the company and the train drivers for nearly nine years now, and the company today decided that they would rather create a situation where there would be a potential flashpoint or potential dispute around that issue."

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