LUAS staff are taking industrial action to win higher wages. This follows a 99 percent vote in favour across four different grades.
When LUAS was set up in 2004, drivers ‘wages were deliberately set low because it was predicted that there would be 20 million passengers paying a €1 each for the journey.
By 2009, it was already clear that LUAS was a commercial success. Passenger numbers had grown to 27 million passengers who were paying a lot more than €1 a journey.
The workers at LUAS have never been properly rewarded for their efforts. They were stuck in long five year collective agreements and were denied a right to take industrial action because of a no strike clause.
After waiting patiently for years, the staff finally decided to press for a significant improvement in their wages. The owners of LUAS, Transdev, have made no efforts to meet the workers claim.
The LUAS company can well afford to pay its staff. It is owned by a subsidiary of the giant Violia corporation which has made a fortune from the privatisation of water in other countries.
STATEMENT OF LUAS DRIVER
“First of all, Luas drivers sympathise with the Luas passengers for the disruption and inconvenience strikes might cause. They all have families and big mortgages so this decision was not taken lightly!
However as Transdev have refused to engage on cost increasing claims for the past 18 months drivers were left with no option but to take this action.
Transdev’s refusal to negotiate a claim set them on the inevitable path to this dispute say the drivers.
That strategy is akin to the ostrich who sticks its head in the sand. If TII are aware of this strategy and condone it, then as owners of the LUAS system they are equally culpable for discommoding 100,000 passengers this Thursday /Friday.
Luas drivers have stated from the outset that there was room to compromise on all aspects of their claim. so now they need to act responsibly as the operator of Luas and take their head out of the sand and engage productively to negotiate the best possible outcome for their organisation.”
Cllr Gino Kenny said: ‘I fully support the striking Luas workers. They set a great example for other workers who have been denied pay increases and faced pay cuts over the past 7-8 years. Since the beginning of the recession public transport costs have increased for customers while private companies such as Transdev are making huge profits.’