Luas lunch box strike must be derailed– Richmond

-   Senator Neale Richmond

Any Luas drivers’ strike over their lunch breaks will be disastrous for the 109,000 commuters who use it daily, Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond has claimed.

The Dublin Rathdown politician said all efforts must be made on every side to avert any potential industrial action on the green and red lines on both sides of the capital city.

“Prior to the cross-city LUAS, drivers only took breaks in the Sandyford depot. Subsequently, LUAS drivers rejected a recommendation by the Labour Court that they should carry their lunch in cooler bags so they can take their breaks in either the Broombridge or Sandyford depots.

“A risk assessment found that food would be safe in the cooler bags for six hours. A ballot for industrial action has not been ruled out as a response to this issue,” Senator Richmond pointed out.

“In order to ensure that drivers could return to their original depot for breaks, LUAS operator Transdev would have to hire an additional five drivers at a cost of €250,000 to ensure the timetable would not be disrupted. Any industrial action would also be detrimental to the LUAS drivers as they would forfeit a 6.5% bonus worth €3,000.

“A LUAS strike would be disastrous for the 109,000 commuters who use the service daily. It would be absolutely greeted with dismay by all commuters. Knock on effects would impact on bus, DART and taxi services as all would have to look elsewhere to travel.

“Given the chaos cause by the LUAS strike two years ago, where passengers were forced to walk along LUAS tracks in order to get to work, it is vital that there is no return to this disruption. Commuters in Dublin should be able to rely on the LUAS to transport them without the fear of strikes and delays to the service.

“Throughout this year, LUAS users have had to put up with a plethora of disruptions from carriage break downs to overcrowding to previous industrial actions.”

“It is vital that Transdev and the SIPTU continue to engage on this issue to reach a compromise that is suitable for both parties and that does not bring serious disruption to the people of Dublin,” Senator Richmond said.

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